Friday, October 12, 2012
49ers' Smith staring down expectations
By Mike Sando
History had much to say about the San Francisco 49ers' chances for backing up their 13-3 record from last season.
The 2012 team wouldn't force as many turnovers. It wouldn't stay as healthy. And there was certainly no way quarterback Alex Smith would continue throwing interceptions only 1.1 percent of the time, a historically low figure.
The 49ers are 4-1 and on pace for 13 victories. They could still falter for all the suspected reasons, but to this point, Smith has shown no signs he's about to become an interception machine. He has one interception in 137 pass attempts. His interception rate has fallen to 0.7 percent.
A pattern has developed.
Smith has gone 26 consecutive starts without tossing more than one interception in a game. He's two games behind Aaron Rodgers for the longest streak since 1970. Note that Smith's coach, Jim Harbaugh, is also high on the list.
Neil O'Donnell, Jeff Hostetler and Harbaugh are on the list. O'Donnell was the only one of the three to toss more than 12 scoring passes in a season during the streak. O'Donnell topped out at 17, the same number Smith threw last season.
Smith has eight touchdown passes through five games. He leads the NFL in Total QBR and passer rating.