In the words of Texans DE Mario Williams, "Who?"
Along with most of football nation, Williams was unsure who was taking the snaps during the second half of the Texans-Niners game on Sunday.
Lo and behold, it was Alex Smith, the former first overall pick out of Utah.
To give readers some form of how far Smith has fallen, consider this: When you type "Alex Smith" into the Bleacher Report photo archive, you will get photos from Sunday's game against Houston. Then you get a slew of pictures of Eagles TE Alex Smith. (Smith has appeared in five games for Philadelphia this season with no stats. The pictures I found were from his last three years as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)
Then come some pictures from the National Welsh PGA Tournament. Then you get some QB Alex Smith training camp pictures. Then you get pictures of MLL Star Alex Smith of the Washington Bayhawks.
Then you get some in-game photos of QB Alex Smith.
Smith, who was the first player taken in the 2005 NFL Draft, was named the starting quarterback for the Niners after Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Texans.
Sunday's loss, which dropped the Niners to 3-3, doesn't sound as devastating as it could have been.
QB Shaun Hill, who has been the starting quarterback, was 6-for-11 with 45 yards through one half in Sunday's game with the Niners down 21-0. Smith entered the game in the third quarter and finished 15-for-22 with 206 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith, who has a career record of 11-19 as a starter, hasn't started a game since November 2007, when he broke a bone in his shoulder. He was replaced by J.T. O'Sullivan.
Smith re-aggravated his shoulder injury three days before the 2008 season and missed the entire season due to the injury. He was the second stringer behind O'Sullivan when the injury happened.
The Niners, who began the season 3-1, play at 6-0 Indianapolis on Sunday, against whom Smith made his first career start. Smith was 9-for-23 with 74 yards and four interceptions in a 21-3 loss.
During his rookie season, Smith threw 11 interceptions and one touchdown, which came in Week 17 in a win against the Houston Texans.
After playing for five different offensive coordinators in five years (Mike McCarthy, Norv Turner, Jim Hostler, Mike Martz, and Jimmy Raye), Smith has completed 54 percent of his career passes for 4,885 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions in 33 games.
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