Apparently, the New Orleans Saints didn't get the message that Friday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers was just a preseason game. And, just maybe, one game into the 2011 season, Alex Smith may be already having second thoughts about returning to the Bay Area for another season.
Alex Smith was beaten up and brutalized in his first performance under new head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Saints safety Roman Harper crushed Alex Smith on the 49ers second possession, forcing a fumble. The clean and uncontested blindside hit was the kind of shot that highlight reels are made out of, and Smith's shot was no exception.
In five offensive possessions, Smith completed just two of seven passes for 10 yards, including a 12-yard completion to newly acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Smith's second pass was a two-yard loss to running back Anthony Dixon.
In the end, the 49ers lost a meaningless game, but it was the fashionable and physical beating that Alex Smith took that has cause for concern.
Smith looked like he was playing on a 1-15 squad rather than a team that was in playoff contention up until the final weeks of last season. It was a blindside shot that cost Alex to miss part of the 2007 season with a shoulder injury, and all of the 2008 season when the same shoulder failed to heal properly.
The pressure and hits, despite being a preseason game, forced Alex into rushed and terrible throws. Five possessions, two sacks, a fumble, two competitions and a quarterback rating of 39.6 is hardly the start Alex Smith and the 49ers hoped for.
Good thing for Alex Smith and the 49ers however, is that they have time to adjust and right the wrong before the games actually mean something. Alex Smith, in the meantime, can only hope his offensive line starts to treat preseason games more like actual games, because another beating like the one he took Friday night could ruin a season of redemption.