Smith welcomes blitz pressure

October 5, 2011, 9:03 pm
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Alex Smith racked up impressive numbers in the 49ers' come-from-behind win over the Eagles. Smith was 9-of-9 for 179 yards and two touchdowns in just the third quarter. He drove the offense to three unanswered touchdowns to post a quarterback rating of 154.3 in the second half. It was the 49ers' highest second-half QB rating since Steve Young notched a 157.9 against the Rams in 1993.

The numbers are all very well and nice, but the most important number from that game is the big fat "zero" that showed up in the interceptions column. Actually, Smith has thrown only one interception through the first four games this season and is ranked second in the league with an interception percentage of 0.9.

Just trying to do less, if that makes any sense, Smith said Wednesday. I really felt like I was doing too much for a long time. Pressing too hard. Trying to make too many plays instead of just letting it come to me.

His teammates have noticed the difference, too.

This offense is kind of like the offense he played in at Utah, said wide receiver Joshua Morgan. So I feel like hes a lot more comfortable. Hes just playing football now. As a quarterback -- I dont want to try to take this the wrong way -- you have so much on your mind as a quarterback, but during the game hes not out there thinking no more. Hes just out there playing football and reacting and you see the difference.

More important, Smith doesnt have to think as much when defenses bring the pressure. Actually, he welcomes it. Last seasons offensive scheme required several players to pick up blitzes and adjust their roles accordingly. Sometimes players guessed correctly. Other times they didnt. Either way, the result often led to miscommunication.

He was holding the ball because he didnt really know what we were going to do and vice versa, Morgan said. But this year, everything is everything. Just run your route and let Alex figure it out.

Against the Eagles, Smith figured it out well enough to avoid the blitz and find Morgan open behind three defensive backs on a simple slant pattern. The result, a 30-yard touchdown.

I think this team sees the capabilities that we have when teams do pressure us, Smith said. We get the one-on-ones, we get people isolated in endzones whether its man, chances for big plays. Especially the fact that weve done it now. The past few weeks, we beat pressure. No question, Im excited for when it comes.