Alex Smith

Where Alex Smith took over

Voice: gone. Energy: expended. I watched Game 1 of the 2010 World Series in person a little over a year ago, and this was kind of like the same thing, except the crowd was more into it and the game was in doubt for 3.5 hours instead of 35 minutes.

The 49ers won the best game I’ve ever seen in person (any sport), and if they aren’t already owning the City, they will after their next win.

When Huey Lewis and the News crushed the anthem, Candlestick was already full. And it wasn’t exactly easy to get into The Stick on Saturday afternoon. The line was so long to get into the stadium that I thought we might miss Huey, the opening kickoff and a few more minutes of football. Even with the obstacles put forth by a not-quite-modern facility, the fans came ready — and that helped the 49ers beat what I believe is the best offensive squad they’ll face this season.

The entire game was about defense. I screamed, you screamed, we all screamed for Dashon Goldson interceptions and Donte Whitner hits (the 49ers safeties came to play, huh?). After all those 49ers takeaways I hugged my dad, I hugged my wife, but the Saints were still only a score away from ruining our afternoon the entire time — particularly that time when Drew Brees threw that go-ahead touchdown to Jimmy Graham with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Here’s my question about Alex Smith: why does he only look like a top-3 QB when the game’s on the line? Because his win today wasn’t the only one. He did this against the Eagles, the Lions … wait, why am I complaining? Smith obviously has it in him to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, only he waits until the very last second to show it.

I didn’t see Vernon Davis’ tearful embrace with Jim Harbaugh after he caught the game-winning touchdown until I got home and watched the replay. The hilarious thing was watching Smith’s reaction. Vernon caught the pass, Smith runs down and nobody even acknowledges his existence. Davis cries on Harbaugh’s shoulder, Smith strides by with a grin on his face, like everything’s hunky-dory. Old hat, I guess.

The Saints kept trying to score, and trying to score, and eventually they scored. A lot. And at the end of the game, Smith needed to throw pinpoint passes to Davis to steal the win we as fans thought we had worked so hard to cement. Alex did it. His career will never be the same. And he was the best part of the best 49ers game I’ve seen in person.

My ears are ringing.

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