49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 13, 2012
Pigs fly: Alex Smith wins award based on fans' vote


Alex Smith is 2-0 against Drew Brees in the last nine months. The 49ers quarterback edged out Brees and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to win the FedEx "air" player of the week award. Smith threw three touchdowns and had 303 yards Sunday against the Bills, his first-ever 300-plus yard outing in a victory.

He had been nominated for the award three times previously, including twice last year, but had never won it until this week. What's notable is that it's an award based on fan voting and that Smith hasn't always been a fan favorite in Northern California. The two-year anniversary of the "We want Carr!" game was this week.

"Seems like a long time ago, longer than two years ago for sure," Smith said. "Yeah, a long time ago it seems like."

With his win, the local Junior Achievement in San Francisco will receive a $2,000 donation in Smith's name. Meanwhile, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw won the "ground" player of the week award for his 200-yard effort against the Browns. The 49ers defense has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson - 86 yards - came the closest. No running back has scored a touchdown against the 49ers, either.

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee, foot) is cautiously optimistic he can play against the 49ers, which would be his first in-game appearance since Week 2. Even if he can't, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said the Giants have plenty of other options.

He gave a tip of the hat this week to New York's personnel department for their ability to unearth good receivers in the draft and (in Victor Cruz's case) off the street in free agency. The Giants' latest find is second-round draft pick Rueben Randle, one of several receivers to visit the 49ers before the draft. Randle has seven catches for 86 yards.

"Good speed. Good size; was a really good draft choice for them," Fangio said. "He's a competent receiver. They lost Mario (Manningham) in free agency, and they went out and got guys to replace him. They lose Nicks for three games and their offense doesn't suffer a bit."

Here's the Giants injury report:

Out: DT Rocky Bernard (quadricep), RB Andre Brown (concussion), S Kenny Phillips (knee)

Questionable: T David Diehl (knee), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot, knee), CB Corey Webster (hand, hamstring)

Probable: WR Ramses Barden (concussion), TE Martellus Bennett (knee), LB Chase Blackburn (hip), LB Michael Boley (hip), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), LB Keith Rivers (hamstring), S Antrel Rolle (knee)

Jim Harbaugh believes that Kevin Gilbride and the Giants were trying to influence the officials with the "gets away with murder" comment about Justin Smith. Who's the head official in Sunday's game? It's John Parry, who called the 49ers-Ravens game on Thanksgiving last year. There were two big calls in that game, a chop-block penalty against Frank Gore that erased a 75-yard pass to Ted Ginn and a pass interference call on Tarell Brown.

There's a grand opening today at 10 a.m. of the 49ers Team Store in Palo Alto. The store is located at the Town & Country Village, 855 El Camino Real in Palo Alto on the Northeast corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road. The 49ers also have a mobile in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco on weekdays.

-- Matt 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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