San Francisco 49ers Loss Rekindles Troy Smith vs. Alex Smith QB Controversy

Joseph BurkeyAnalyst INovember 22, 2010

Troy Smith, amazing in his first two starts, laid an egg with the 49ers offense against a mediocre Buccaneers defense Sunday
Troy Smith, amazing in his first two starts, laid an egg with the 49ers offense against a mediocre Buccaneers defense SundayEzra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers were shutout 21-0 at home by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, potentially reigniting controversy at the quarterback position for the Red and Gold.

Tampa hadn't won in California in a long time, and it had been even longer since the 49ers were shutout at Candlestick Park. What took place that fateful afternoon, however, was a perfect storm of 49ers failure.

Expecting pouring rain, a ton of penalties, and a hard fought battle for some rowdy die-hard fans, it turned out to be a beautiful day, they committed hardly any fouls, and got skunked in a totally uninspired effort put forth for a rather lackluster audience.

Perhaps the worst part is that entire NFC lost, making this week essentially a wash, as the division standings are basically unaltered. The badly oxidized silver lining is that the 49ers are still only two games behind the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West division lead.

The goose egg laid by the offense under the command of Troy Smith served as a grim reality check for the Faithful. Fans have been living on the prayer that the team can rally from one of the worst starts in franchise history and make the playoffs.

After starting 2-0 and putting up over 350 yards against the St Louis Rams, Troy Smith seemed to possibly be the future of the quarterback position for San Francisco, supplanting Alex Smith. A shutout however, is something that cannot be ignored. In any sport, you need to put up more than zero points to win.

Now that Alex Smith's shoulder is healed, there will be consideration as to whether he or Troy Smith will be the starter down the line.

It's no secret that Alex Smith has a history of being dissed by fans and media alike. Thus far labeled as a bust, his record of leading the team to close losses certainly helped him earn the reputation of a mistake maker. Defenses have admitted to planning their defensive strategies based on putting the ball in his hands.

Alex is 1-5 as a starter this year, but even he hasn't been shutout.

There's really no conclusion worth drawing when comparing the two currently. Troy will get another shot Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals, and if he can help the offense redeem itself on the road against a division rival, the flames of quarterback controversy will subside. Should they stumble and fall again, it will spell conundrum with a capital QB.