Yesterdays matchup between the 49ers and Giants told us a lot of things about both teams. First and foremost they showed that they will be around come January. Both teams played excellent defense making each other settle for field goals early on. Both teams showed grit and the will to win. But most of all we learned that Eli Mannig and Alex Smith are two top level QB's. Yea I said it!
Manning threw for 2 TD's and over 300 yards against a top ranked defense in San Francisco. He did throw 2 picks but one was to the fault of Mario Manningham as he broke off his route leaving Eli high and dry. Alex Smith on the other hand threw 1 interception out of 3 on the whole year. Smith's pick is credited to Teddy Ginn as a perfectly thrown ball by Smith bounced off Ginn's facemask and into the hands of the Giants defense. Smith showed incredible poise throughout the game as he was asked to carry the offense due to the limited running game by the loss of Frank Gore to a knee injury. Smith was on point hitting 8 different receivers including a TD pass to Vernon Davis. It was obvious that the moment was not too big for Smith as he kept the offense going on long drives and not punting until the 2nd half.
This game showed that Alex Smith has arrived and much of the credit has to go to the coach of the year Jim Harbaugh. Clearly Harbaughs experience as a QB and a coach has made him the perfect fit in San Fran and the perfect medicine man for Alex Smith. Smith has only thrown 3 picks this season and as mentioned before that yesterdays was clearly not his fault. So is Alex Smith no an elite QB after leading his team to an 8-1 record? Well this 49er fan says...no. But that doesn't mean he can't pull a Trent Dilfer and win a Super Bowl. Smith has arrived and is playing as good as any QB this year (except Rodgers who the Niners should have drafted). So more elite than Eli? No, but he may be on his way!