Mike Singletary deserves credit for switch back to Alex Smith
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on December 13, 2010, 1:23 PM EST
It took one play for the boo birds to come out in San Francisco on Sunday.
Alex Smith was under pressure on the first play from scrimmage, so he smartly threw the ball at the feet of a receiver to avoid a sack. The home crowd voiced their displeasure, which was far more about the decision to bench Troy Smith than it was about the play.
Mike Singletary’s decision to switch Smiths before facing the Seahawks wasn’t popular locally with fans or media. (We liked the move, largely because it seemed poetic for Singletary and Smith to sink or swim together.)
Singletary has taken a lot of heat on PFT and beyond this year, so it’s only fair to give him credit here. The decision couldn’t have worked out better. Smith had perhaps his best day as a pro, completing 17-of-27 passes for 255 yards and three scores in a 40-21 win.
This is a results business, and the result of going back to Alex Smith paid huge dividends in a must win game. The 49ers are very much alive in the NFC West at 5-8, and they could still be in good shape if they lose Thursday night in San Diego. Really.
Everyone has pointed to Seahawks-Rams in Week 17 as the key game in the NFC West. But if the 49ers can win in St. Louis in Week 16, San Francisco may very well “control their playoff destiny” heading into a season finale against the Cardinals.
A lot has to happen before then. For now, the 49ers can celebrate making the right call and staying alive for another week.