Tuesday, November 2, 2010
NFC West Week 8 decisive moment
By Mike Sando
The San Francisco 49ers have produced too many decisive moments of the unwelcome variety this season.
Quarterback Troy Smith changed that during his first start of the season Sunday.
The 49ers trailed the Denver Broncos 10-3 early in the fourth quarter when a holding penalty forced San Francisco into a first-and-20 situation from their 34-yard line.
What to do?
The 49ers could have played it safe, hoping their defense would score a fourth-quarter touchdown for the second consecutive week. Or, the 49ers could have taken their chances with a largely untested quarterback. What did they have to lose besides another game?
They chose the aggressive play, and Smith rewarded them. His perfect 27-yard strike over the middle to a well-covered Delanie Walker on second-and-20 set up the most decisive moment in the NFC West during Week 8. On the next play, Smith sidestepped pressure, rolled right, waited as long as he could and then, to put it generously, chucked the ball up for grabs. Walker was there. His leaping grab for a 38-yard gain to the 1 set up Smith's tying touchdown run.
Smith threw the ball off his back foot with a defender bearing down on him. He released the ball from San Francisco's 49-yard line. Walker caught it inside the 5 and fell forward to the 1.
Singletary wasn't going to quibble with the throw, or the decision. The 49ers needed results, and they got them. They scored 14 more points in the quarter, including one on a 28-yard pass from Smith to Michael Crabtree, and won the game 24-16.