All Grown Up

Dec 14, 2006 at 10:40 PM


For some boys it’s making their first shave on a sparsely stubbled face. For others it’s their first kiss. The rev of the engine of their first car, a handshake of a principal upon graduation or the turn of the key to a brand new apartment. For Alex Smith, it was a third and six at his own fourteen on a dreary Seattle night.

"The boy just became a grown man today, baby," Frank Gore said to a national audience following the game. "There's a lot more to come."

Alex Smith, you have arrived.

A team needing an answer following three straight losses found one in the media’s favorite scapegoat of the last few weeks. After meandering through the first three quarters on Thursday, Smith led three fourth quarter touchdown drives in Montana-esque fashion leaving Seattle’s champagne on ice for another week as the 49ers playoff hopes once again emerge. He was confident, stepping up into the pocket and throwing with authority. He was tough, shedding a Kelly Herndon tackle and nailing Frank Gore for a touchdown. Most of all, he was a leader, refusing to lose and carrying the team to victory.

Even Chris Collinsworth, who was using Smith as his personal piñata for the first three quarters, had to eat his words by the end of the game finally admitting that this team does in fact have a star to build around. Smith finished 14 of 25, for 162 yards and accounted for all three touchdowns, two by air, one on the ground. But the stats are irrelevant in comparison to what his performance means to the psyche of the team, and the future of the franchise. Stars rise to the occasion when the lights come on, and in the heat (or more accurately damp, cold) of battle, Smith did just that.

Not only did Smith become a grown man tonight, but so did his supporting cast.

"I think this team grew up a little bit tonight," Smith said.

San Francisco has been outscored 75-3 in Seattle the previous two years and entered this game as ten point underdogs to the all too eager to be anointed NFC West Champion Seahawks. The defense held strong, making a season defining stop on fourth and one late in the game and Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and Smith, the future core of the franchise, fittingly all scored to hold off Seattle’s celebration by at least one more week.

San Francisco may not win another game the rest of the season, even though the division is well within reach, but in the long run Smith and the 49ers made a statement tonight. Baby boy is all grown up.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Orlovsky defends not having 49ers legend Joe Montana among his top-5 all-time QBs

By David Bonilla
Feb 3

I want to preface this by stating that I enjoy Dan Orlovsky's breakdowns and often find him insightful. However, the ESPN analyst presented a hot take this week that is sure to attract its share of scrutiny. It even did so among Orlovsky's ESPN colleagues. It's difficult to forget that time David Carr tried, much to the astonishment of his NFL Network colleagues, to explain why Joe Montana wasn't a top-10 quarterback of the Super Bowl era. The analyst was, unsurprisingly, bombarded with criticism for making such a highly-debatable statement. Orlovsky finds himself in a similar situation, throwing out his own version of the take when it comes to his top five



Analyst and former All-Pro O-lineman: "Jimmy Garoppolo is just an injury-prone quarterback"

By David Bonilla
Feb 3

Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle took a stab at defending Kyle Shanahan and his play calling from fans and media who place at least part of the blame for the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback injuries on the shoulders of the head coach. It's a fascinating read. Silver argues that the quarterback woes have more to do with poor luck than Shanahan unnecessarily putting his signal-callers in harm's way. Whether or not you want to accept Silver's stand on the situation is up to you. The topic has created much debate among the fanbase, but it is a discussion for another day. One thing was made clear this week. Jimmy Garoppolo, the


Featured

More by Matt Faust

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone