Monday, October 15, 2012
Rolle stymies Smith with pair of picks
By Kevin Lynch
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants safety Antrel Rolle got a tour of the 49ers' Santa Clara facility in April 2005, when the team considered taking Rolle in that year's draft.
Eight seasons later, Rolle was a nightmare for the player the Niners did pick with the first choice that year -- quarterback Alex Smith.
Antrel Rolle takes off with an interception while Niners quarterback Alex Smith gives chase.
Rolle picked off Smith twice in the third quarter as the 49ers were trying to erase a 17-3 deficit. On the first one, Smith was attempting to thread a tight pass to former Giant Mario Manningham. Smith threw high and Rolle made a spectacular, one-handed pick that set up a Lawrence Tynes 30-yard field goal.
Once the 49ers got the ball back, Rolle was at it again, stepping in front of Michael Crabtree with his second interception of Smith in a span of three passes.
"The first one was Cover 3, and I was able to read the quarterback," Rolle said.
On the second one, Rolle was first in a Cover 3 look and then he came down to blanket Crabtree on a crossing route. When Crabtree didn't make a sharp cut, Rolle sped in front of him to pick off the pass.
After the game, Rolle complimented the coaching staff and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. It was a switch from last year, when Rolle said Fewell was not taking advantage of Rolle's ball-hawking skills.
"Perry Fewell and the rest of our defensive coaches did a tremendous job getting us ready, getting us prepared for this game," he said. "The coaches, they just really emphasized the little things this week."
Rolle and the rest of the Giants' defense were able to rattle Smith one week after he posted his best game statistically of his career. Smith was clearly confused by the shifting Giants secondary and the pressure from the front four.
"I could tell at times we had him rattled," Rolle said. "But every quarterback is going to get rattled sometimes, depending on how you disguise your coverage and things of that nature."