Going into Sunday’s 49ers-Giants tilt, everyone expected a run-first approach from San Francisco.
That’s how the 49ers have played all year, and New York’s struggling rush defense begged for it. Instead, the 49ers came out aggressively throwing the ball with Alex Smith.
“All week long, they talked about attacking,” Smith said of his coaches to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “They hear what’s being said. They know. This was a big game, and they were out to prove a point. It was like, manage this.”
Smith is referring to the constant praise of Smith as a “game-manager.” Coach Jim Harbaugh has received credit for limiting Smith’s flaws. There has still been a sense San Francisco is winning despite Smith.
Smith’s 242 yards weren’t exactly Brady-like, but he averaged 8.1 yards-per-attempt. His one interception came on a Ted Ginn drop. Smith made a number of vertical throws on a day Frank Gore was held with no rushing yards.
The 49ers have done a terrific job evolving throughout the year. They add a new dimension seemingly every week. On Sunday, they showed they can beat a very good team without running the ball that well.
Smith deserves plenty of credit for that.