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Around the NFC West: 49ers' big comeback

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh earned the nickname "Captain Comeback" during his NFL playing career.

In September 1995, his Indianapolis Colts overcame a 24-3 road deficit to Boomer Esiason's New York Jets, with Harbaugh throwing fourth-quarter scoring passes to Sean Dawkins and Marshall Faulk to win, 27-24.

A month later, Harbaugh's Colts did it again. They trailed Dan Marino's Miami Dolphins 24-3 on the road, with Harbaugh throwing fourth-quarter scoring passes to Floyd Turner and Aaron Bailey to win, 27-24.

That makes the 49ers' comeback from a 23-3 deficit at Philadelphia in Week 4 merely one of the better road comebacks for a team featuring Harbaugh in a leadership role. It felt like so much more given the 49ers' struggles in recent seasons. That is because the 49ers have struggled so badly with many of the same players on their roster right now, notably quarterback Alex Smith.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com calls the 49ers' victory against the Eagles a signature one for Smith in particular. Harbaugh: "I think it's huge for a quarterback. You don't have many 20-point comebacks as a quarterback. And when you do, that's definitely a character-builder for the football team, for the quarterback, for everybody."

Also from Maiocco: This was the 49ers' biggest comeback victory since Joe Montana was quarterback.

More from Maiocco: The 49ers said they discovered during film study Jeremy Maclin's tendency to carry the ball loosely following receptions, one reason Justin Smith was able to force the game-saving fumble.

More yet from Maiocco: Harbaugh calls this as good a win as he can recall being associated with. Harbaugh on Frank Gore: "I saw something in Frank that I've seen from the first time I met him and that is a guy with a huge heart and just a warrior out there. I know what that word means, warrior, in the context of football. But I think it applies to certain guys and Frank is one of them."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee points to three Smiths -- Alex, Justin and Aldon -- as playing key roles for the 49ers.

Also from Barrows: a 49ers report card.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers claimed a victory that can help Harbaugh build a foundation.

Monte Poole of Bay Area News Group says Alex Smith's performance answered critics.