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

December 9, 2012
Dear Michael Strahan: Aldon Smith officially is on your tail


SAN FRANCISCO - After chasing Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill all afternoon Sunday, Aldon Smith is now officially chasing Michael Strahan.

Smith finished with two sacks against the Dolphins, giving him an NFL-best 19 ½ on the season. That moved him past Hall-of-Fame defensive end Fred Dean for first place on the 49ers single-season sack list. It also means Smith is just 3 ½ sacks from passing Strahan's NFL record for sacks in a season, which the ex-Giants defensive end set in 2001.

"I'm human, so it's going to cross my mind," Smith said of the record. "The focus is putting in a complete game and playing as best I can."

Smith admitted he left additional sacks slip through his grasp. Playing against a rookie, Jonathan Martin, who was making his first start at left tackle, Smith twice got within striking distance of Tannehill in the second half but couldn't quite pull him down. "You can't let it happen twice," Smith said of a miss. "You have to make up for it on the next play."

Smith has increasingly used a bull-rush move to stagger opponents, and it was particularly effective against Martin on the first sack, which came deep in San Francisco territory. Smith knocked the rookie flat on his back, then plowed into the quarterback. "He got me on that one bull rush pretty good," Martin said afterward. "There's a reason why he is one of the best pass rushers in the league."

LaMichael James' debut meant another running back had to be inactive on Sunday. That runner? Veteran Brandon Jacobs, who took to social media over the weekend to complain about his meager role this season.

"I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners." Jacobs wrote on Instagram.  "This is by far the worst year I ever had, I'll tell you like I told plenty others."

Jacobs has a history of expressing his discontent over playing time, having done so at various points over his Giants career. Before the game, he and general manager Trent Baalke chatted briefly on the field, and the conversation appeared to be amicable.

Jacobs left the locker room soon after the game and was not available to speak to reporters.

Frank Gore's one-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the 50th of his career, tying him with Roger Craig and Joe Perry for the franchise record.

Perry, who passed away last year, actually had 68 rushing touchdowns for the 49ers. The team, however, does not count the 18 touchdowns Perry scored in 1948 and 1949 when the 49ers were in the All-American Football League. They joined the NFL for the 1950 season.

Et cetera - Jim Harbaugh said that backup defensive end and special teams ace Demarcus Dobbs "may have dodged a bullet" after injuring his knee in the second half. Dobbs may miss time, but Harbaugh indicated the injury was not a torn ACL tendon.

* Like James, rookie A.J. Jenkins also made his debut. The receiver was in on three plays. He wasn't targeted in the passing game but delivered a block on Gore's 19-yard run in the fourth quarter.

* Another special teams player, Tavares Gooden, suffered a rib injury and did not return to the game. Fullback Bruce Miller was X-rayed after the game but said he would be fine. He briefly left the contest but returned to play special teams.

-- 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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