49ers Win Thriller, 23-20, In OT

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49ers QB Troy Smith's Play Against Rams Good Enough To Earn Him Another Start

It wasn't always pretty, and it wasn't always effective, but Troy Smith got it done in Sunday's 23-20 overtime over the St. Louis Rams. Troy drew the start after starter Alex Smith went down with a shoulder injury, after leap-frogging David Carr on the depth chart two weeks ago in London when the 49ers "hosted," the Denver Broncos. Troy played well in that game, minimizing mistakes and making the throws he needed to make. On Sunday against the division leading rivals, he played much better than that, with no big mistakes yet again.

Troy went for 17-of-28 passes for 356 yards and one touchdown against zero interceptions. Not every pass was one ot be admired, as stated, but he showed accuracy on all three levels of the field. When it came to short passes, they hit the receivers where they were supposed to, in contrast to starter Alex Smith, who made it a routine of sorts to put a simple screen pass high over a receiver's head. Every screen went right into Delanie Walker's hands at the exact time it should have, and he did a good job of disguising it. The intermediate routes were where he shined, when he had any time at all in the pocket, it was a workman effort to deliver the ball with almost flawless accuracy. When he was forced out of the pocket, he made great throws on the run. The deep ball was likewise, for the most part it was on point.

He did have two issues that were immediately apparent though, in regards to decision making. Troy's zero interception total may be a little deceiving, there were times he had an intermediate route open but kept his eyes too far down field and went for the deep ball when it wasn't really there, while the intermediate route was almost guaranteed to be a first down. They didn't end up being turnovers at that point, but keep it going and it will happen eventually. Smith's pocket presence also left some to be desired, but he was under pressure for essentially 90% of the offensive snaps. There were times he held onto the ball too long, and times when he appeared to be that ended up working out in his favor.

Either way, Troy's play was good enough to earn him another start when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town this coming Sunday. The Bucs are playing seemingly above their talent level right now, and Troy will need to show a lot of people what he can do when they arrive at Candlestick Park. Coach Mike Singletary named him the starter in a Monday morning press conference following the game against St. Louis.

Citing Troy's play in the past two games, Singletary declared him the starter. Coach Sing had good things to say about his improvisational ability, and then some bad things right after. He made it clear to both Alex and Troy in the locker room directly following the game that Troy would be the starter.

"I think it will be an ongoing thing," Sing said regarding Troy's game and the holes he needs to correct before playing the tough Bucs, "Every quarterback around the league is going to do something that the coach doesn't like, and I think for me, it's just a matter of continuing to work with the coordinator, and he and I - [offensive coordinator] Mike Johnson and myself - understand the things that Troy has to correct going forward. And they're just little, correctable things, and we'll do that."

It will be a week-to-week thing, according to Singletary, which may be the only surprising thing about this move. Some might think Troy's play should give him a pass for the remainder of the season, regardless of one bad performance. It might do well for him to have the coach's full backing, who knows?


San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams: What The Media Is Saying About The Victory

The 49ers rolled up a huge insane victory against the St. Louis Rams 23-20 in overtime. The 49ers found their offensive groove in the fourth quarter and Troy Smith put together the best yardage performance by a 49ers QB since 2004. Naturally the media has had plenty to say about this victory and what it means for the 49ers going forward. Here’s what folks are saying about the 49ers victory:

San Francisco Chronicle: The 49ers finally have a deep-ball-throwing, team-leading, game-winning quarterback, which is why they finally have a real shot in the NFC West, after all.

Starting quarterback Troy Smith all but shed the temp-service tag by throwing for 356 yards with a fourth-quarter rally on top to carry the 49ers to a 23-20 victory over the Rams in overtime Sunday at Candlestick Park.

ESPN NFC West Blog: What I liked: Smith continued to give the 49ers life at quarterback. He is not always pretty. Sometimes he holds the ball too long. But he’s not afraid to make things happen, and that separates him from injured starter Alex Smith. Troy Smith has restored the big-play element to the 49ers’ offense. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 356 yards, one touchdown and a 116.7 rating. He took five sacks, but was a big play waiting to happen.

49ers Examiner: Troy Smith’s 356 passing yards on Sunday are the most by a 49ers quarterback since Tim Rattay threw for 417 yards back in 2004. It’s been a while since the 49ers have had that kind of offensive output from a quarterback.

His mobility has given the 49ers offense new life. Being able to keep plays alive with his feet led to a handful of huge plays in the passing game. Also with Smith, the 49ers have a quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over. More importantly, has found a way to lead the 49ers to game-winning scores in the fourth quarter.

That is something that excites the head coach (and fans too).

San Jose Mercury News: Playing with a searing knee injury — he described it as a “sniper shot” — Joe Nedney winced as he drilled the winning field goal Sunday. His knee hurt right up until the moment the ball went through the uprights. “After that,” Nedney said, “all the pain went away.”

Niners Nation: Today’s game ball has to go to Troy Smith. Frank Gore made some key plays and continues to be the team’s MVP in 2010, but Troy showed so much over the course of the game. He struggled in the middle of the game, but his scrambling and throwing skills were incredibly evident on that final drive, as well as numerous other times during the game. I don’t know if Troy Smith is the QB of the future, but I can’t see how he hasn’t earned the starting job in 2010. Maybe he’s not the long term answer. At this point I really don’t care. He made some stupid incredibly stupid plays but he more than made up for them. He’s the QB of right now. I don’t see how anybody can argue otherwise.

Matt Maiocco: Troy Smith completed 17 of 28 passes for 356 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked five times, and certainly was not perfect. But after the 49ers’ 1-6 start to the season with Alex Smith at quarterback, it seems illogical Singletary would prevent Troy Smith from keeping the momentum going.

“We’re just going to enjoy this win and before I get into who’s the starting quarterback and all that other stuff,” Singletary said, “we’ll sit down as a staff and talk about what we need to take about, discuss what we need to discuss and go from there.”


NFL Scores, Week 10: Seattle Defeats Arizona, Takes Over First Place

Week 10 saw the NFC West battling it out amongst themselves as the San Francisco 49ers faced the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks traveled to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Given how awful this division has been in 2010, every divisional victory can have huge implications, and yesterday was no different. The 49ers defeated the Rams and the Seahawks defeated the Cardinals, leaving the division standings as follows:

Seattle Seahawks 5-4
St. Louis Rams 4-5
San Francisco 49ers 3-6
Arizona Cardinals 3-6

The 49ers victory moved them into a tie for last place and closed the gap to one with the St. Louis Rams. However, Seattle’s second road victory of the season maintains their two game edge in the NFC West. They went into Glendale and whupped up on the Cardinals to the tune of 36-18. They did see a tough injury to Matt Hasselbeck, who cracked a bone in his left (non-throwing) wrist. He came back to play in the second half, but was in a cast following the game. If he can’t go next week at New Orleans the Seahawks could be in big trouble.

The 49ers best chance to make the playoffs requires close to a sweep of their remaining divisional games. They won yesterday, leaving them with two games against the Cardinals, one at home against the Seahawks and one on the road against the Rams.

Seattle has moved into the driver’s seat in the NFC West, but they also face a tough schedule the rest of the way. Of course, the toughness of that schedule might be changing even as we speak. They visit a strong New Orleans squad and then host what has quickly become a struggling Chiefs team. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain their current pace and give the NFC West an actual consistent winning team in the division.


49ers vs. Rams: Joe Staley Suffers Leg Fracture, Out 4-6 Weeks

The 49ers pulled out a big victory in defeating the division-leading St. Louis Rams 23-20, but it has come at a cost. Left tackle Joe Staley went down with an apparent ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Initially sideline reporter Chris Myers said Staley was not returning, but a few minutes later he was back on the field. The post-game report is not quite so rosy as it is being reported that Joe Staley has a fracture in his leg and is out 4-6 weeks.

Whether Staley ends up on the injured reserve list or not, it seems likely that backup offensive tackle Barry Sims will take his place in the starting lineup. Staley suffered an injury last season that resulted in Sims spending a sizable chunk of the season in the starting lineup. Sims played very well in relief and 49ers fans certainly will be hoping for something similar in the coming weeks.

Although it’s unlikely, a second option would be utilizing backup offensive tackle Alex Boone. Boone has been inactive every game this season but has shown signs in training camp of potentially turning into a solid offensive lineman. I doubt he’ll get the call, but he remains an option.


San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams: 49ers pull out thrilling overtime victory 23-20

It’s amazing how excited people can get when a team improves to 3-6. And yet given the state of the NFC West this win is huge. The San Francisco 49ers 23-20 overtime victory against the St. Louis Rams is step one in a potential climb towards a division title. The 49ers have a lot of work in front of them, but for one week they’ve handled their business.

It certainly wasn’t an easy process as the 49ers did everything they could to blow this game. They had three touchdowns and an interception called back because of bad penalties. Their two minute defense was unable to close the deal in regulation (although they did step up in overtime). And yet they somehow found a way to get the victory.

Troy Smith certainly qualifies as your player of the game as he threw for more yards than any 49ers QB since Tim Rattay back in 2004. He struggled in the middle of the game, but he really stepped up late with some monstrous throws with the 49ers backed up deep on 3rd and 32 and 4th and 18.

The 49ers face an even stiffer challenge next week when the 6-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town. The Bucs have surprised a lot of folks with a strong start to the season and will give the 49ers a huge challenge. Troy Smith has had some big moments thus far but the Bucs will provide another big challenge.


NFL Injury Report, Week 10: 49ers QB Alex Smith Still Not Practicing

The 49ers released their practice participation report for today and QB Alex Smith continues to sit on the sidelines. Mike Singletary spoke with the media and indicated that Troy Smith was his QB right now but that Alex Smith would probably be starting QB if he were healthy.

I’d imagine much of Singletary’s talk leading up to the release of Friday’s official injury report should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, teams engage in a lot of gamesmanship to keep teams from focusing their practices on one particular player. This is especially true when dealing with QBs; particularly those that might bring different skill sets to the table.

Come Sunday, my prediction is that we’ll see Troy Smith playing with Alex Smith available as the #3 emergency QB and David Carr as the primary backup. Some folks are clamoring for Nate Davis to suit up but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen. It sounds like Alex Smith could play if needed, and as emergency QB he’d be in a position to do that.


49ers-Rams NFL Gambling Odds: 49ers Open As Six To Seven Point Favorite

Following the completion of Monday Night Football, gambling odds are generally posted online and at the various sports books around the country. The Rams and 49ers both had bye weeks and so the odds were already being formulated even as Week Nine matchups were taking place.

SB Nation has a relationship with Odds Shark, which provides a rundown of multiple odds for a given matchup based on numerous sites around the Internet. In their assessment of the 49ers Week Ten matchup with the Rams, the spread ranges from 49ers at -5.5 to 49ers at -7. The moneyline wager puts the 49ers at -260 or -270 depending on where you wager.

Although the Rams are 4-4 and lead the division, they are thus far winless on the road. That would seem to give the 49ers an edge, but we all know the 49ers have managed to lose games in every way imaginable. I’m not surprised the 49ers are favorites, but given the Rams increasingly solid play, the Rams at +7 might be a decent pick. I could see this game ending up a close battle that the 49ers hopefully win by 3 or 6 points. I’d love a blowout like last year’s matchup at Candlestick, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

The over/under on this matchup is 38.5. For those who don’t know how that operates, you are basically betting whether or not the two teams will combine to score more or less than 38.5 points. I would take the under because I think this will be a grind ‘em out battle featuring Steven Jackson vs. Frank Gore and a pair of stout defenses. I don’t see a lot of points on the board on Sunday.

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