Not only is Alex Smith a changed man in 2011, his teammates haven’t missed a beat either. They have complemented his leadership in every aspect of the game.
The 49ers’ hard-hitting defense has been a dominant force in the NFL. Going into Sunday’s game against the Giants, the 49ers had only allowed 118 points—the fewest in the NFL.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman ranks second in the NFL with 92 tackles, while cornerback Carlos Rogers leads the league with five interceptions.
And having someone to throw to doesn’t hurt either. Receivers Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan are all averaging over 40 yards per game and over 10 yards per catch.
These three have accounted for six of the team’s 11 touchdowns this season. Their efficiency is a major factor in Alex Smith’s success, and vice versa.
As if to spoil Alex Smith even more, he has Frank Gore—one of the top running backs in the NFL with five touchdowns and 782 rushing yards this season. When the two-time Pro Bowler was sidelined with a knee injury for the last half of Sunday’s game, the rest of the team stepped up and found a way to win.
In the fourth quarter, running back Kendall Hunter rushed for a 27-yard touchdown and Smith connected with Vernon Davis for a 31-yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion to Michael Crabtree sealed the deal at 27-20.
Kicker David Akers is also having a career year of his own. Akers is 5-for-5 from 50-plus yards this season and ranks among the NFL kicking leaders with 23 field goals. He makes 92 percent of his field goals.