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

June 13, 2012
49ers Notes: Smith to Moss for a two-minute touchdown


Three quarterbacks got a chance to run the two-minute offense at the end of Wednesday's practice. Only one of them, Alex Smith, led the team to a touchdown ... though he and the first-team offense needed four plays at the goal line to do it.

Going against the second-team defense, Smith quickly marched the offense down field, hitting Randy Moss and Brett Swain for medium gains and then connecting with Vernon Davis on their old, reliable seam pattern down the middle of the field. That pass, just over the head of inside linebacker Tavares Gooden, put the 49ers on the goal line.

On the next play, Smith hit Michael Crabtree whose feet were in the end zone put whose torso was on the other side of the goal line. Officials ruled him down on the 1-yard line. On the next play, Alex Boone was whistled for a false start, placing the ball at the 6-yard line.

Smith's second-down bullet to Moss was incomplete, and inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite did a nice job knocking the ball from Kendall Hunter on a short pass on third down.

That brought up fourth down. Moss, who was lined up against undrafted rookie Deante Purvis, ran a crossing pattern in the back of the end zone. Smith threw the ball two feet over the receiver's head and Moss snagged it for the touchdown.

Meanwhile, Scott Tolzien's two-minute attempt with the second-team offense went four and out. Josh Johnson's chance with the third-string offense lasted longer - 10 plays - but also failed to get into the end zone. And before you ask, no, there has not been a re-juggling of the QB pecking order. All of the backups have had chances to operate with the second-string offense.

Patrick Willis, who made an emergency trip home on Tuesday, was not at practice. Nor was fellow inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who is expecting twins with his girlfriend. Another inside linebacker, rookie Joe Holland, also sat out practice with an injury.

The other injured 49ers are Ted Ginn, Joe Looney, Cam Johnson and Darius Fleming. Delanie Walker hurt himself early in Tuesday's session and was not on the field Wednesday.

The group of 49ers who have consistently made plays this spring includes Davis on offense and cornerback Perrish Cox on defense. Cox, however, had scare today when he collided with safety C.J. Spillman while breaking up an end-zone pass to Crabtree. He was slow to get to his feet but eventually re-joined the practice.

Rookie receiver Nathan Palmer is a popular target when he's on the field. He had perhaps the catch of the day when - while moving across the field - he reached back with his left hand for a Josh Johnson pass that was badly behind him and tipped it to his right hand for the reception. That was rivaled only by a two-handed diving catch by Kyle Williams on a dart from Alex Smith.

Cornerbacks Anthony Mosley and Tramaine Brock had interceptions. Mosleyy jumped a route in front of wideout A.J. Jenkins on a pass from Johnson. Brock, meanwhile, came down with a sideline pass that sailed on Colin Kaepernick.

-- Matt Barrow


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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