SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 10: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on October 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Generally speaking at this point in the week I like to feel fairly optimistic about the 49ers chances in their upcoming game. Heading into this week I have felt pretty comfortable about the 49ers chances against Seattle. Sure they could lose, just like many other games this season. However, NFC West road games are generally pretty tough and the 49ers can be decent enough to handle their business on Sunday.
Whatever the end result on Sunday, I feel as though I could safely wager that at some point the boos will rain down on Alex Smith and a chant for Troy Smith will quickly explode through the stadium. There's a chance Alex will find nothing but success, but all things considered, the odds are not exactly in his favor. At some point he might throw an ill-timed interception or he'll fire a ball past an open receiver and the crowd will let him have it. I mean he could make the smart decision on a given play and throw the ball out of bounds or dump it off to a check-down receiver who doesn't get the first down and people will still let him have it. The Faithful are restless and Alex Smith has been the scape-goat all season long.
Given all this, we might as well use the situation to generate some predictions. When do you think the first boos will be heard? And I don't mean something here or there. I mean something with considerable noise behind it. Maybe not quite like what we saw in the Eagles game when we were on the verge of a full-fledged riot, but something noticeable. Will it be the first overthrow, the first three and out, the first interception? Maybe something a bit more nuanced?
I don't like to trade on the misery of others, but we'd be foolish to not recognize that there is a distinct possibility of a serious fan reaction on Sunday. If the 49ers can take control of the game early and win, we likely won't see it. But given the elimination nature of this game, if things go bad at any point it could get ugly.