I'm not generally one to throw around words like "clutch" or "winner" or any of the other terms that are often used to describe quarterbacks. However, I'm going to make an exception in this article because one of the many criticisms leveled at Alex Smith over the years is that he's not a "clutch" QB, and that when it comes down to leading a game winning drive he's more likely to throw an interception than to throw a touchdown.
As such, here are a few interesting tidbits from the season this year.
4th Quarter QB rating
Prior to Sunday's game Eli Manning was the NFL leader for 4th quarter qb rating. Sunday's game saw Alex Smith improve his 4th quarter QB rating from 106.7 to 118.8, which is fantastic no matter how you look at it.
4th Quarter Wins
Sunday's game saw Alex Smith lead the 49ers to the team's 4th come from behind win this season.
Giants vs 49ers
The team entered the 4th quarter down 13 to 12. Alex Smith would put the 49ers on top with a 31 yard td pass to Vernon Davis and then follow it up with a 2 point conversion to Michael Crfabtree
Lions vs 49ers
Who can forget this thrilling come from behind win that earned Alex Smith the title of "clutch" from Harbaugh? The 49ers entered the 4th quarter up 15 to 13. In the beginning of the 4th quarter Stafford threw a td pass to put the Lions up 19 to 15. Then on a 4th and goal Alex Smith laid in a perfect pass to Delanie Walker to put the 49ers up.
Eagles vs 49ers
The 49ers entered the second half of this game down 20 to 3. In years past we would have all shaken our heads and written the game off, but Alex Smith went to lead the team on a 21 point scoring spree that would include a 30 yard td pass and a 9 yard td pass--hardly the mark of a mere "game manager".
Bengals vs 49ers
This was an awful game that was low scoring. The 49ers entered the 4th quarter down 6 points to 3. The 49ers lone td came on a 7 yard run by Kendall Hunter but Alex Smith was 4/5 for 58 yards on that drive to get Hunter into scoring position.
I think we can finally lay to rest the notion that Alex Smith is not a clutch QB.
Oh, and one more fun fact--Alex Smith has more 4th quarter comeback wins and game winning drives than does Aaron Rodgers. Of course that might just be a result of Green Bay scoring 3,000 points a game, rather than any failing on Aaron Rodgers' part.