We can all attest to the vast amount of criticism Alex Smith has received from 49er fans since being drafted by the team in 2005. Even after last years breakthrough performance in leading the 49ers to a 13-3 record and the NFC Championship game, fans and pundits have continued to bash on Smith, giving him the "game-manager" label and convincing themselves that the 9ers won't win the Superbowl with Alex Smith at the helm.
With the Week 1 match up against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Alex Smith haters were given the perfect opportunity to point out how an elite QB plays the game of football (the QB in green), and the ineptitude of a player who is the Achilles heel of a team trying to take the next step (the QB in red).
Or so they thought...
When the 49ers thoroughly dominated the Packers in Lambeau Field, the Baptism of Alex Smith haters took the next step, converting the doubters into believers that Alex can indeed take this team all the way.
But what about the 30 year old, injury waiting to happen RB by the name of Frank Gore?
At the end of last season, Gore did not break the century mark in the final 10 games, including the postseason. With a rising star in Kendall Hunter in the wings, and new acquisitions of Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James, talk of "Gore's done" and "trade Gore" filled the off season message boards. I would argue that "Gore Doubters" were almost as prevalent as "Alex Smith Doubters" this past off season.
However, after Gore's 16 carry 112 yard performance including a 23 yard touchdown scamper against the Packers in week 1, "Gore Doubters" were dunked in the holy water of the Church of Latter Day 49ers, right alongside the "Alex Smith haters".
Looking as impressive as ever, Gore showed his quickness and vision that has made him the all-time leading rusher in 49er history. Just like he did in his prime, Gore gashed the Packers for 7 yards per carry, showing no signs of his age and injury history slowing him down.
While Gore did appear to slow down towards the end of the regular season in 2011, he was playing hurt, and teams were stacking the box as the 9ers lacked the ability to get the football to their wide receivers.
In 2012, with the 49ers revamped receiving core, both Alex Smith and Frank Gore have the teammates that can allow them to show off their skills, and convert the doubters into believers.