Good things happen when Alex Smith is in a rhythm.
The 49ers signal-caller showed that on Monday night, as he went 18 for 19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns to lead San Francisco to a dominant 24-3 win at Arizona. Not only did Smith set an NFL record for completion percentage (94.7) with at least 15 passing attempts, but on Wednesday he was named the NFC Offensive Player of Week.
“We’re always happy for the other man’s success,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on KNBR Wednesday. “We’ll always, as a team, honor those people who receive those awards. Well-deserved on Alex’s part, just a great performance.”
Smith benefitted from strong efforts by his wide receivers, especially Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss.
Crabtree continually won his one-on-one matchups with Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, catching two red zone touchdowns as part of his five-catch, 72-yard performance. Moss added a touchdown of his own, catching a quick out route before making two defenders miss and sprinting for a 47-yard score.
Smith took advantage of all of his weapons, as Mario Manningham also picked up three first downs and Delanie Walker, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore each had big catches.
“Alex was very sharp playing quarterback,” Roman said. “He took it one play at a time, stayed very sharp. I think he had a real understanding of what the Cardinals were trying to do and was very good, very efficient with his reads, very accurate, and the guys made plays, the wide receivers made plays. That was great to see.”
Roman attributed Smith’s success to his relentless work ethic. Since Roman and Jim Harbaugh joined the 49ers before the 2011 season, Smith is 19-5, tied with Aaron Rodgers for the most quarterback wins in that span.
“Alex, one of the great things about him is how consistent he is and how he comes day in, day out and doesn’t get on the roller coaster,” Roman said. “He just came back to work and came in every single day trying to get better, understanding the gameplan.
“I don’t think he did anything extra special in his preparation – every week he’s really on. Just a really good performance at quarterback for him. When he plays like that, we can get this thing rolling pretty good.”
Smith was joined in the weekly NFC Awards by New York Giants safety Stevie Brown, the Defensive Player of the Week, and Green Bay cornerback Davon House, the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
OFFENSE: QB ALEX SMITH, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
- Smith completed 94.7 percent of his passes (18 of 19) and threw for 232 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 157.1 passer rating in the 49ers’ 24-3 win at Arizona.
- He set an NFL record for the most passes in a game (19) without more than one incompletion or interception, besting the previous mark of 18 held by Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON and CRAIG MORTON.
- Smith’s 94.7 completion percentage is the highest single-game mark in NFL history (minimum 15 attempts). By comparison, STEVE YOUNG’s best single-game mark (minimum 15 attempts) is 93.8 percent (15 of 16) and JOE MONTANA’s is 84.4 percent (27 of 32).
- Smith’s 157.1 passer rating is the highest of his career and, including the playoffs, the 49ers are a perfect 15-0 when Smith starts and has a 100+ rating. When Smith starts and completes at least 75 percent of his passes, the 49ers are 7-0.
- In his eighth season from Utah, this is Smith’s first career Player of the Week Award.
- He is the first 49er to be honored on offense since FRANK GORE in Week 14, 2009.