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Alex Smith’s top 5 moments with the 49ers

Apr 20, 2021 at 6:07 AM0


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Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith retired from the NFL after playing 14 of the last 16 seasons in the league. Smith, who was the top overall draft pick of the 49ers in 2005, spent his first seven years in the Bay Area. The former Utah Ute had many mountains to climb with San Francisco, like five different offensive coordinators, head coaches who did not believe in him, and being in the same draft as California Golden Bears' Aaron Rodgers, whom the Green Bay Packers drafted in the same draft. In honor of his career with the 49ers, here are Smith's top five moments with the team.

Moment 5: The Phoenix rises


After a horrible 45-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and coming off a bye week, the 49ers traveled to Houston in a Week 7 game on Oct. 25, 2009. The Texans took a 24-0 lead going into halftime. 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill was 6-11 with 54 yards passing and was pulled by Singletary for Smith, who missed the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. Smith went on to lead a comeback by connecting with tight end Vernon Davis on three scores. Though they were down 24-27, the Niners had a chance for a comeback when they had the ball with 1:38 left in the game. However, the comeback came up short when Smith overthrew wide receiver Isaac Bruce and Texans safety Eugene Wilson picked off the pass. Smith finished the game 15-22 for 206 yards passing and 3 touchdown passes and was named the starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2009 season.

Moment 4: He is a grown man


On a rainy Thursday night game, the 6-7 49ers traveled to Seattle on Dec. 14, 2006, to play the 8-5 defending NFC Champion Seahawks. The 49ers' offense was stale by going three and out during eight of its first nine drives. With the Seahawks leading 7-3 late in the third quarter, the Niners needed a spark, which they got when Smith hit wide receiver Arnaz Battle for a 54-yard reception. Smith then led the Niners on a 21-point 4th quarter, starting with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Davis. After the 49ers defense stopped the Seahawks offense on downs, Smith led the 49ers on a 73-yard drive, which was capped off with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Frank Gore. After a Shawntae Spencer interception, Smith led the Niners down the field on a six-play, 86-yard drive, which ended with a Smith 18-yard touchdown run. The 49ers ended up winning the game 24-14. Smith ended the game 14-25 for 165 yards, with 2 scoring passes, 33 yards rushing, and a touchdown run. After the game, Gore spoke highly of the second-year quarterback's passes.

"The boy just became a grown man today, baby," Gore said about Smith. "There's a lot more to come."

Moment 3: Gut check


In the 2011 season, the 49ers faced two teams that gave them reality checks. They faced the first team during a Week Three game on Oct. 2, 2011, when the Niners traveled to the City of Brotherly Love to face the 1-2 Philadelphia Eagles, or what back-up Eagles quarterback Vince Young dubbed, "The Dream Team" because of the Pro Bowl players the team picked up in free agency. The 2-1 49ers, who were coming off of a 13-8 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, found themselves down to the Eagles 20-3 going into halftime. Smith led a vicious comeback against the Eagles by throwing two touchdowns, one to each of to wide receiver Josh Morgan and Vernon Davis. Running back Frank Gore capped off the comeback with a 12-yard touchdown run. The 49ers' defense stopped the Eagles from finishing a comeback when Justin Smith stripped wide receiver Jeremy Maclin of the football after a catch and Dashon Goldson recovered the fumble. Alex Smith finished the game 21-33 for 291 passing yards and 2 touchdown passes, and the 49ers won the game 24-23, taking their record to 3-1.

A couple weeks later, on Oct. 16, 2011, in the Week Six Fox Game of the Week, the 49ers traveled to Detroit to face the undefeated Lions. In a game during which the 49ers had more than 203 yards rushing, including 141 yards rushing by Frank Gore, Smith did not have great game passing with only 125 yards and an interception. With the 49ers down 15-19 with 1:56 left in the game and the ball inside the Lions' six yard line, on 4th and goal, on a crossing route, Smith hit tight end Delanie Walker, who was able to barrel into the endzone give San Francisco a 22-19 lead. Despite 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz almost getting into a fight after the game, the 49ers won 25-19, improving their record to an NFC-best 5-1. Those two games lifted any doubts about Smith, and many fans started to believe he could lead the team to a possible Super Bowl berth.

Moment 2: The Catch III


The 2011 NFC playoffs featured future Hall of Fame quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, and Drew Brees, up and coming young guns Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford. Accordingly, Alex Smith was probably be the one quarterback many people did not bet on. When the 49ers hosted the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 14, 2011, in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, Smith's performance down the stretch of the game helped play himself into 49ers history.

Most of the game, the 49ers defense was able to contain the Saints high powered offense, garnering four turnovers. Yet, with 4:22 left in the 4th quarter, the Saints managed to take a 24-23 lead after Brees hit Darren Sproles on a 44-yard touchdown pass. Smith and the 49ers offense answered the Saints when he led the Niners on an 80-yard, six-play scoring drive that was capped off with a 28-yard touchdown scamper with 2:11 left in the game, resulting in a 29-24 49ers' lead. The Saints answered back, with Brees hitting Jimmy Graham for a 66-yard touchdown pass, and a Sproles two-point conversion, and the Saints took a 32-29 lead with 1:37 left in the game.

Smith then led the Niners back down the field with a seven-play, 85-yard drive, and the 14-yard catch of the year by Vernon Davis with nine seconds left in the game, on which they took a 36-32 lead and the victory. Smith joined the ranks of 49ers greats like Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jeff Garcia with miraculous comebacks and this was the game that got him over the hump with love from the 49er Faithful.

Moment 1: The Fall and Rise


On Oct. 10, 2010, The 0-4 49ers hosted the 2-2 Philadelphia Eagles on a Sunday night game. On a third down, with the 49ers down 24-10 early in the 4th quarter, Smith threw an incompletion, and the Candlestick crowd erupted into the loudest boos and chants of "We want Carr," as in backup quarterback David Carr. Smith also had a sideline blow-up with coach Mike Singletary. Though Smith threw two touchdown passes in the game, he led the Niners to the Eagles' 44-yard line late in the fourth quarter, only to throw an interception with 36 seconds left in the game.

Fast forward to Dec. 30, 2012. The 10-4-1 49ers are looking to lock up the NFC's number two seed in a game against the 5-10 Arizona Cardinals. Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took over the starting quarterback spot from Smith, led the 49ers to a 27-6 lead. After a Tarell Brown interception, Smith relieved Kaepernick and was welcomed to one of the loudest cheers in Candlestick. The same fans who booed him two years prior showed him the love. Though he never led the 49ers to a championship, he showed the Faithful that he was able to perform at a high level despite many obstacles put in front of him. The cheers from the Faithful washed away all negative comments made about Smith, such as he had small hands, he was a bust, and the 49ers made a mistake and should have drafted Aaron Rodgers. One can now can say that Smith can sit with the 49er greats like Montana, Young, Garcia, and Brodie.
  • Written by:
    Sports has been my first love since I was 12 years old. At one point I wanted to play football professionally. I started to take photography as a hobby in my teenage years but this was when I followed sports. I started to listen to sports radio, I found my true calling and it was to be a sports talk show host. Though I follow football and basketball, I started to have a new love of cultures around the world. After graduating from San Antonio College in 2018, I worked for the Castroville News Bulletin before going to A&M San Antonio to get my communications degree. Since I have written for the Ranger of San Antonio College, the News Bulletin and the Mesquite of Texas A&M San Antonio, I met many people and went to a lot of events. My major milestone was being in the press box of the San Antonio Commanders game for the Mesquite and being apart of a press conference with the Medina County Sheriff and other local news outlets. When I am not doing anything, I like to watch old cartoons on the DC Universe, play video games such as Mega Man and the Mass Effect series. I have also created Youtube channel called "Anger Management" with my friend Aaron Donnell.
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