For six seasons, Alex Smith was the No. 1 overall pick that looked like a fourth-rounder.
For his first two seasons, Vernon Davis looked like the most physically gifted tight end in the league. But he also looked like a guy who may never “get it” and become a star.
On a magical Saturday evening in San Francisco, Smith and Davis created their own 49ers history.
There is so much to talk about after this instant classic. But it’s hard not to come back to Smith and Davis combining for two touchdowns in the final two minutes to win.
Smith has a reputation as a “game manager” but he was absolutely sensational with the pressure on in the final minutes. Smith dropped a gorgeous 37-yard pass in the bucket to Davis up the sideline with 3:14 left.
That set up The Run, an Alex Smith 28-yard touchdown around the left end to give the 49ers the lead.
MDS started writing what was going to be a beautiful post about The Run as a memorable game-winner. Until the Saints quickly scored a touchdown and Smith had to win the game again.
After the Saints score, we thought the 49ers were finally done. They had pulled off one amazing late drive; they thought they won and now had to do it again. Nothing about their offensive performance all day indicated they could do it so quickly.
Smith did it again, of course. He found Davis for a 47-yard gain to set up the 14-yard game-winner with nine seconds left that reminded us so much of the T.O.’s playoff moment in San Francisco. Davis finished 180 yards and two scores.
“I want to see all good things happen to [Smith] because he’s a warrior,” Davis said after the game.
These weren’t “game manager” throws. They were perfectly thrown gutsy tosses into small windows. The 49ers had a chance to play for the tie at the end of the game. Instead, they played aggressively like they did all afternoon.
The 49ers drafted Alex Smith first overall in 2005. Since then, Smith has seen two contracts, three head coaches, three personnel chiefs, and six offensive coordinators. The team drafted Davis eighth overall the following year.
It took a great head coach, a lot of patience, and a lot of perseverance from Smith to finally get to this moment.
Smith-to-Davis may not quite be Montana-to-Clark, but this generation of 49ers accomplished something special on Saturday.