2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers offense seeks another big day against Giants

    2012-10-11 04:35

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco 49ers fans are no longer booing Alex Smith and calling for his backup.

``Seems like a long time ago, longer than two years ago, for sure,'' Smith said Wednesday when reminded of some of those lower points in his career.

Things are going so well these days the quarterback got the chance to meet President Barack Obama this week - and the president had been keeping tabs on his team's progress to boot.

``Very cool,'' Smith said. ``Huge honor, I mean the president of the United States. It's one of those things when you're a kid, yeah, maybe meet the president. Talked ball the whole time.''

That special encounter came after Smith threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the San Francisco Giants' Game 1 of the NL division series against Cincinnati on Saturday night.

Life is good, all right.

And to think the 49ers briefly considered adding Peyton Manning to the mix this spring, even though coach Jim Harbaugh has downplayed the interest and always insisted Smith is his guy.

Harbaugh played coy Wednesday when asked about Smith's improvements playing under the reigning NFL Coach of the Year and former NFL quarterback, clearly not wanting to offer any tips to the Giants or provide any motivational fuel, either.

``He's a football player. That's the highest compliment you can give a guy,'' Harbaugh said. ``Encompasses a lot of things.''

Nowadays, Smith owns the NFL's No. 1 passer rating at 108.7 and heads into a hyped-up rematch with the Super Bowl champion Giants (3-2) on Sunday coming off his best game yet statistically: San Francisco (4-1) piled up 621 yards and became the first team in league history with 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in the same game.

``My personal opinion is that our players outperformed what we thought was coming,'' Harbaugh said. ``Their skill, their talent, was the greatest share. And they probably did better than what we thought.''

Smith made some throws both Tuesday and Wednesday to test his sprained middle finger, and said he expects it to keep healing as the week goes on and he uses it more.

Two years ago to the day Wednesday, Smith struggled through another game with impatient fans at Candlestick Park yelling for backup David Carr. Smith talked then-coach Mike Singletary out of sending in Carr during the fourth quarter of a 27-24 loss to the Eagles. Smith wound up leading two late scoring drives but also committed three turnovers in prime time.

The 49ers fell to 0-5 for their worst start in 31 years with their third loss that season by three points or fewer.

Topsy-turvy, indeed - just like Smith's entire career since being drafted with the first overall pick in 2005 out of Utah.

Smith has made so many positive strides and memories since then, such as leading the 49ers back to the playoffs last season after an eight-year absence.

Smith had no idea Sunday until he was told afterword just how prolific San Francisco's single-game performance had been in the running and passing games. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a remarkable 156.2 quarterback rating.

``I felt like a lot of us were pretty frustrated just by the self-inflicted mistakes - the penalties and the yards we lost in the first half,'' Smith said. ``Obviously, there after the third quarter, a pretty successful third quarter, second half. Then when someone told me early in the fourth quarter, I guess it made sense, thinking back, yeah, we had been pretty productive and had done some good things. But no idea it was record setting.''

In addition, with Frank Gore running for 106 yards and Michael Crabtree (113) and Vernon Davis (106) each going over the 100-yard mark in yards receiving, it was the first time since 1951 that the Niners had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game.

So much for the offense trying to match its talented defense now. Since that 24-13 Week 3 loss at Minnesota on Sept. 23, the 49ers have combined to outscore the New York Jets and Bills 79-3.

``It's very important for the offense to carry the team this week,'' Davis said. ``Last year we didn't do what we were supposed to.''

Davis is one of many San Francisco players to say he's still bitter about that 20-17 overtime loss to the Giants in the NFC championship game at Candlestick back in January.

For years, Davis has been among Smith's biggest supporters - always confident he would emerge among the NFL's top quarterbacks.

``I've always thought Alex was a warrior,'' Davis said. ``Alex's confidence level is rising.''

Last month, Crabtree called for the offense to keep up with the defense. Not that the guys on the other side of the ball ever had any doubts.

``We see the way those guys practice,'' linebacker Patrick Willis said. ``For them to go out there and put up the numbers that they put up, they were extraordinary numbers. We never underestimate our offense. We know that they're capable, at any time, of having a big game.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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