SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs in for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter of their NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
One of the biggest plays in the 49ers playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints was his 28-yard scramble for a go-ahead touchdown. The final four minutes was a crazy stretch with numerous important plays, so it's hard to rank one over another. But my favorite part of the Smith scramble was the excitement we saw from him as he cruised into the end zone and was swarmed by the team.
We've had plenty of discussions about the scrambling skills of Alex Smith, but he had several chances to show his scrambling this past season. In fact, that scramble against the Saints was actually the second time the 49ers ran that play. After the jump I've posted two videos. The first is the Saints run. The second is video from the 49ers-Browns game in week eight.
Head to the 7:11 mark of the video to view the run. There might be modest differences in the design, but it looks like the same spread out formation with Joe Staley leading the charge down the field. Alex did not score on the play, but he moved the 49ers down to the two yard line, where after a Frank Gore run, Alex Smith connected with Michael Crabtree for a two-yard touchdown pass.
At Stanford, the Harbaugh/Roman/Shaw offense, Andrew Luck had numerous opportunities to display his scrambling skills. Alex Smith has always shown an ability to do some things when he scrambles, particularly with designed scrambles. We don't need to see him scrambling too frequently given some of the big hits he can take, but it's a skill to utilize where possible. The key is making sure Smith doesn't get happy feet breaking off a play before it has a chance to fully develop.
49ers vs. Saints
49ers vs. Browns