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Assessing 49ers QB Alex Smith's performance

In our recap threads there has been plenty of bits and pieces of discussion about Alex Smith's performance last night against the Arizona Cardinals.  Whether the 49ers are able to shock the world and get into the playoffs or not, these remaining few games remain incredibly important in assessing Alex Smith.  Smith has certainly shown improvement this season in a variety of areas.  At this point I'd say he's just about earned the right to be the clear-cut  #1 guy heading into training camp next season.  At the same time, he still faces some of the problems of the past.  Given some of those issues, these remaining three games will certainly be significant in the final assessment of Smith.

Last night's game provided that very mix of good and bad from Smith.  The team won and he threw a pair of touchdown passes.  Good times.  Of course, if you watched the game, it was certainly not a pretty performance.  As has been mentioned repeatedly, Smith overthrew several open receivers.  The Crabtree touchdown would seem to be a lot more Crabtree than Smith.  There definitely remain some chemistry issues to be worked out in the offseason.

Of course, who am I to complain coming off such a huge win?  I guess the question is whether last night changed your perception of Smith for better or worse?  I don't imagine there were huge changes of opinion just based on last night (if you like Smith you still like him, if you dislike him you still dislike him).  But given that we're trying to figure out if he's a long term option, or if he's, as Tom Jackson said (approximately), the quarterback of the short term, I'm curious how opinions are maneuvering along.

Many would argue this was just a poor statistical performance that Smith was able to overcome to help get the 49ers a victory.  The 49ers have been up and down all year in just about every aspect of the game, so I guess it's not so surprising that this was a week where the defense and Frank Gore were the ones to step up and carry the team.