49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

October 9, 2011
West Coast QB: Smith gave receivers, offense chance to shine

Quarterback Alex Smith had his best (mostly) complete game of what, to date at least, has been his best season, going 11-19 for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers' 48-3 dismantling of the Buccaneers on Sunday. Smith has thrown seven touchdowns on the season; five of them have been to tight ends, including all three today. Smith also got an honor rarely bestowed on 49ers starting quarterbacks in the last nine seasons: He was relieved by his backup, rookie Colin Kaepernick, late in the game.

It's clear that the 49ers felt they had a mismatch with their tight ends against the Tampa Bay linebackers, and they took advantage of it. Delanie Walker scored San Francisco's first touchdown; Vernon Davis scored the last two. In addition to the three touchdown tosses, Smith targeted Walker and Davis in the end zone on other passes. The one to Davis resulted in a pass-interference penalty that set up Frank Gore's one-yard run.

Smith was particularly skilled at something at which West Coast quarterbacks must excel: giving his receivers an opportunity to run after making the catch. He executed a perfect bubble-screen to Joshua Morgan in the third quarter, which resulted in a 24-yard gain. On the next play, he hit Davis on the run, and the big tight end broke two tackles before getting into the end zone.

Smith's passer rating on the afternoon: 127.2

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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