Monday, September 12, 2011

San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith Looking Composed in Jim Harbaugh's Offense

The San Francisco 49ers' win at home against the Seattle Seahawks did not blow anyone's mind on Sunday. However, it did give fans a reason for some hope this season.

A first-year head coach, desperate quarterback and one-time disgruntled running back and wide receiver turned into a 33-17 win in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Who knew?

The biggest jolt of Week 1 was the composure of Alex Smith, who went 15 of 20 for 124 yards. The biggest stat, though, was the fact Smith had zero turnovers -- a rarity in 49er Land.

It was different from what we saw in the preseason from Smith and the offense. In the preseason, we saw a lousy offensive line lead to a quarterback running for his life almost every play.

In Week 1, we saw a tough front line lead to a sturdy Smith, who was healthy in the pocket almost the entire game.

Jim Harbaugh gets it, though.

He knows what type of a team he has and what type of plays are simply too risky to use. That is why his Week 1 play-calling ranged from conservative to extremely conservative.

The perfect example would be when the 49ers caught a lucky roughing the kicker call against Seattle, giving San Francisco first and goal on the Seahawks' one yard line.

Harbaugh then decided to call three plays for Frank Gore into the pile. None of them worked and the 49ers settled for the field goal.

Stupidity or genius on his part?

The 49ers ended up getting the field goal and a two-score separation from Seattle.

Ummm genius, although we will use it sparingly in this situation.

The truth was Harbaugh simply did not trust Smith throwing the ball in such a crucial spot in the game.

Yes, Smith is a historically great quarterback in the red zone, but why take the chance?

The 49ers have had chances just like that throughout the many years of not making the playoffs. There was simply no harm in grabbing three points and running for the locker room. Harbaugh was correct in taking the three points and the win, and getting off the field.

However, it was the first half that really gripped the fans watching at home.

Smith was crisp and clean with his passes just about the entire game. Harbaugh's play-calling instructed his quarterback to throw a moderate amount of the time and for short gains.

Quick and precise plays were the name of the game on Sunday at Candlestick Park, and the 49ers benefited from that.

The Harbaugh Era is off to a good start, although conservative play-calling can only take this team so far. He will have a mind to open the playbook up against Dallas in Week 2.


  1. I think that's the last year for Smith to keep his place in the team. He's forced to be a good soldier for the Harbaugh's attack. But, This year, and if he hasn't any injuries, Smith may become a "real" QB for the Niners. I was surprised by the game of week 1 as you. My only hope? 7 others games like this one.

  2. It was conservative play-calling for Smith at best, so take of it what you will. I do hope he continues to be smart in the pocket and not get too crazy, but it is a long season.

    Not sure if Smith is the answer for the future, and i am not sure Harbaugh sees it that way either. I get the feeling he is a week-by-week QB right now and nothing more, as much as we can hope he flourishes in this offense.

    Thanks for the comment!