San Francisco 49ers One Game Back in NFC West With Three Games Remaining

Vincent MoraContributor IDecember 13, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers watches as his team takes on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 5, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the 49ers 34-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There was a relative calm about Alex Smith in yesterday's victory against the Seattle Seahawks, and why shouldn't there be? He was leading his team to their most complete victory of the season.

Alex Smith was not great, going 17 for 27 with 255 yards and three touchdowns, but missed on a couple of easy passes that should have been completions. Nonetheless, he got the job done.

Things did not start out well for Alex, as he had to endure the boo-birds from early on in the first quarter after missing on two straight passes. But, those boos were quickly turned into cheers when he connected on a long touchdown pass to Vernon Davis to put the 49ers up by seven.

Perhaps the play that we should be looking at as 49ers fans is the play that Alex made on Anthony Dixon's long run. Alex ran down the field 20 yards to throw a block.

Who wouldn't want that player on their team?

Alex was far from perfect in yesterday's game. We saw what we have always seen from Alex, batted balls at the line of scrimmage to missing open receivers. Yet, we can't place all the blame on Alex when Vernon Davis, Ted Ginn and Michael Crabtree keep dropping balls that should be caught.

Alex also showed great awareness, recognizing when the Seahawks had jumped offsides, realizing he had that free play and capitalizing on that in the first quarter touchdown to Vernon Davis.

Alex also showed his ability to read defenses very well on the Brian Westbrook long touchdown pass. The Seahawks came on a blitz, and Alex showed tremendous accuracy and play recognition to get the ball into the hands of the elusive Brian Westbrook.

It looks like the 49ers staff finally learned how to utilize Brian Westbrook, as he caught five passes for 87 yards while also carrying the ball for 23 yards.

I am not going to sit here and say that losing Frank Gore is a good thing, he is an excellent 49er, but he could have been holding the 49ers back by the offense relying too much on him. The 49ers are now forced to open up the playbook a bit more, giving more opportunities to our other playmakers.

The defense did an excellent job, picking off Matt Hasselbeck four times, including an interception returned for a touchdown by Dashon Goldson, but that secondary at times still looked suspect.

It could have been that the 49ers were running a prevent type of defense in the second half, but you never want to give up long completions to anyone at any time. Now, the run defense did an excellent job and did exactly what we have come to expect from them.

But, what is up with all the missed tackles? That is still is something the 49ers need to clean up. Good teams do not miss that many tackles.

It is very easy to say that the coaching did a good job after a victory, but there were some issues that I would like to address. Why did the 49ers not call a timeout at the end of the first half on a third down from inside the ten yard line to call a more creative play?

Why are the 49ers trying to run out the clock with over ten minutes left in the third quarter? I understand that the 49ers were up by 30 points, but anything can happen with half the game still to be played.

With all of the above said and as crazy as this may sound, the 49ers are only one game back of the division lead with three games to play. They now must go on a short week to play the San Diego Chargers on national television, with both teams playing for their playoff lives.

Can Alex Smith and the 49ers really pull this off? That I do not know, but it is going to make for an exciting three weeks.