The San Francisco 49ers were one fumble away from reaching the Super Bowl in the 2011-12 season.
Unfortunately, Alex Smith could not come up in the clutch and Kyle Williams let the game slip away, right through his hands.
The fact that the 49ers even made it to the playoffs was a surprise. Year in and year out Smith and the 49ers disappointed fans.
Smith has finally started playing like the player the 49ers once believed he would be and he will play even better in 2012.
The NFL lockout caused a lot of problems for all of the NFL.
Having a lockout hurts the development of players. With a new head coach, the lockout was crucial to Smith's development as a quarterback.
Without a lockout, Smith will have time to develop more as a quarterback and create chemistry with his new weapons from free agency and incoming rookies.
Jim Harbaugh exceeded all expectations in his first season as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Harbaugh showed he can win at any level of football. In his first stint in the NFL, Harbaugh brought a team from mediocrity to the NFC Championship game.
The biggest gift Harbaugh gave the 49ers, was bringing the best out of Smith. Confidence is exactly what Smith lacked and Harbaugh poured confidence all over Smith.
With a whole season together and having a complete offseason together, Harbaugh and Smith will continue a great connection.
Not only did Smith connect with Harbaugh, but he also found a connection with offensive coordinator, Greg Roman.
This season will be the first time Smith will have an offensive coordinator for more than one year. That's impossible for any quarterback to feel comfortable in his team's system.
Roman was brought in from Stanford with Harbaugh and knows how to run an offense. The 49ers are not his first gig in the NFL and he has showed could make strides with Smith last season.
Smith will continue to work with Smith making him a better, more comfortable quarterback.
The 49ers' front office went out and made Smith very happy during free agency.
San Francisco needed playmakers desperately and the front office went out and did exactly that during free agency. The 49ers grabbed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss.
Manningham was a Super Bowl hero for the New York Giants last season. Though he only caught 39 passes for 523 yards in the regular season, the 25-year-old is a deep threat for Smith and has came up huge in the clutch.
Moss is a huge risk and reward signing for San Francisco. Moss sat out the entire 2011 season and was terrible for three teams in 2010. If Moss still has his speed and truly wants to play, he will be a steal.
The 49ers' front office is surrounding Smith with playmakers and he has some great new weapons to throw to in 2012.
The 49ers shocked the football world when they selected LaMichael James in the second round of the NFL draft.
Why would the 49ers need another running back? Well, James is a threat to score every time he touches the ball in multiple ways.
Harbaugh saw James dominate at Oregon when he was coaching at Stanford. James will not be the workhorse he was at Oregon in his rookie campaign, but he will certainly find his touches.
James will be carrying the ball, catching the ball in the backfield and in the slot, and receiving punts and kickoffs. Smith will love James' big play ability and will be sure to find him the ball with space to showoff his elusiveness.