David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Troy Smith gives the 49ers the type of quarterback they need to contend in the NFC West. White: "Niners head coach Mike Singletary declined to name Troy Smith his starting quarterback on a permanent basis. A sellout Candlestick crowd double-dog dares Singletary to send the other Smith under center when Tampa Bay visits the 49ers next Sunday." The decision to play Troy Smith should be an easy one. There's no point in undermining Alex Smith, however. Singletary could point out that there are two types of quarterback changes. Some result from performance-related benchings. Other results from unforeseen developments. This one falls into the latter category. Alex Smith, though far from inspiring, left the lineup only because of injury.
Also from White: Joe Staley tried to stay in the game after suffering a broken left fibula.
More from White: Joe Nedney fought through a knee injury to kick three field goals for the 49ers, including the game-winning attempt.
More yet from White: a 49ers report card with high marks for Troy Smith's big-play passing.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says sticking with Troy Smith is worth the risk for the 49ers. Maiocco: "There seems to be little doubt Troy Smith will remain as 49ers' quarterback for the foreseeable future after playing well enough for the 49ers to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Troy Smith completed 17 of 28 passes for 356 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked five times, and certainly was not perfect. But after the 49ers' 1-6 start to the season with Alex Smith at quarterback, it seems illogical Singletary would prevent Troy Smith from keeping the momentum going."
Also from Maiocco: Tony Wragge got the 49ers through the game at left tackle, a position he hadn't really played.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers have no plan for third-and-32 or fourth-and-18, but Smith gives them a chance in those situations. Barrows: "Singletary was noncommittal as far as next week's starting quarterback and said he and his assistants would discuss the situation as Alex Smith recovers from a separated left shoulder. But he'll have a hard time convincing his players – especially those at the offensive skill positions -- that Troy Smith shouldn't be under center against Tampa Bay on Sunday."
Also from Barrows: a 49ers report card with a C-plus grade for the special teams.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News offers passing grades for the 49ers on the coaching front.
Also from Brown: Troy Smith and Frank Gore improvised when connecting on a key 14-yard completion late in regulation.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Troy Smith played the way the 49ers wished Alex Smith could play. Kawakami: "The main point is that the 49ers don't have to keep hoping and praying for Alex Smith anymore. Troy Smith is their quarterback now. That's simple to say, and it was simple to see Sunday."
Gary Peterson of Bay Area News Group says the 49ers tried to downplay a season-saving victory.