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Alex Smith Leads 49ers to Victory

Posted Sep 9, 2012

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Alex Smith broke a San Francisco 49ers franchise record previously held by Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and did so while leading his team to an inspiring road victory over the Green Bay Packers.

On Sunday, Smith was absolutely sharp in a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field.

He completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and a 125.6 quarterback rating.  The 49ers are 11-0 when Smith posts a 100.0 rating or better and the team, more importantly, is 1-0 to start the 2012 regular season.

“Alex Smith was terrific,” Jim Harbaugh said.

Smith’s efficiency helped him throw his 185th consecutive pass without an interception, putting him ahead of Young’s previous franchise record of 184 attempts without a turnover.

Teammates were thoroughly impressed with the way Smith, the eighth-year quarterback, led the 49ers to a big win a matchup of Super Bowl contenders.

“I think he’s very poised,” said cornerback Tarell Brown, who did his part in limiting Aaron Rodgers’ production for the Packers. “Alex is a leader of this team and we rallied around him. He did a great job of conducting the offense, doing what he was supposed to do and putting guys in the right positions to make plays.”

Harbaugh agreed.

“I thought he was great,” the 49ers coach stressed. “All game he used his legs, his arm, his mind, his toughness. He was really efficient tonight.”

Besides moving the ball successfully to many of his offensive weapons, Smith and the 49ers did not turn the ball over, extending the franchise’s record mark of 26 quarters without a turnover.

“I think we played good team football for 60 minutes,” Smith said after the big road win. “It wasn’t perfect by any means, but everyone was helping each other out and executing. It’s tough to come in here on the road on opening day in a loud place, a lot of things against you. And we were able to come out with a win.”

Not only did Smith’s smart decision-making and accurate passes lead San Francisco to victory, it gave the 49ers consecutive season-opening wins for the first time since 2002-03. Harbaugh also became second coach in franchise history to win opening day games in each of his first two seasons, joining George Seifert (1989-90).

It didn’t look as if Smith and the 49ers were going to start out as fast as they did.

Smith and the 49ers went three-and-out to start the game, but saw points go on the board on the next five offensive possessions. San Francisco punted just once in the first half, picking up 14 first downs while building a 16-7 lead.

The 49ers first touchdown of the game came on a riffled Smith pass to veteran wide receiver Randy Moss, who ran freely down the field from the left slot to catch his 70th red zone touchdown.

“We got a good look,” Smith explained of his first touchdown pass of the season. “(Moss) blew open and made a great catch. It was a great play, great play-call down there, great play-call by design.

“I’m happy for him to get that touchdown out of the way.”

Smith’s second touchdown of the game, a 4-yard strike to tight end Vernon Davis, was his most impressive throw of the day, according to Harbaugh.

Despite having Packers safety Morgan Burnett draped over Davis in the end zone, Smith’s low throw was perfectly placed for his tight end to receive.

“(Smith) put it in the only spot it could be,” Harbaugh said.

It wasn’t the only time the 49ers quarterback found his intended target; Smith’s 76.9 completion percentage was his second highest output of his career.

“It was a good start, but by no means perfect for any of us,” Smith said. “There are things to get better on, the team can improve, but it was a good start.”

Harbaugh appreciated his team’s hard-working effort and Smith, too, said it was about the 53-man roster working together and not being selfish.

“Check your ego,” Smith said. “That’s what this team’s about.”

Entering a Week 2 matchup with the undefeated Detroit Lions on “Sunday Night Football” will certainly grab the 49ers attention soon, but for now, the club can take pride in coming together in a historic, hostile environment.

“The great thing about this is we came on the road and the team showed out,” Brown said. “When you have the opportunity to go on the road and play in a hostile environment like this, you want to see the character and heart of your team. We definitely displayed that today.”

So did Smith, the recently elected offensive co-captain.

“This win says a lot about his character and the things he does for this team,” Brown said.

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