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Justin Smith Showing No Sign of Slowing Down

Posted Dec 4, 2013

The 49ers defensive tackle described the simplicity of his strong-arm move opposite larger offensive lineman.

You saw it on Sunday. Justin Smith barreling into an offensive lineman, pushing him into his own quarterback.

You’ve seen it for six seasons now. Smith collapsing the pocket with sheer force.

What does he call the pass-rushing move known in some circles as the “bull rush”?

“It’s called I-wish-I-had-another-move,” Smith said in jest before Wednesday’s practice. “It’s all I got at this point, so we’ll keep going with that one.”

And it’s not something Smith practices. He certainly has other tactics, and his self-deprecating modesty is getting in the way of expanding on them.

But watch the 49ers front seven and, fittingly, it’s Smith who’s getting in the way. Expect that to continue this Sunday at Candlestick Park, where San Francisco hosts Seattle as part of Week 14 action.

“Great finish on plays, finishes the pass-rush,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He helps other guys get there in famous fashion.”

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald was the beneficiary in Week 13, earning a sack when the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Smith pushed 6-foot-6, 320-pound left guard Chris Williams into St. Louis Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens. And outside linebacker Aldon Smith is often his elder teammate’s partner on stunts at the line of scrimmage.

“Obviously, Justin is so strong. He’s so physical. And he’s been doing it for a long time,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “He’s probably one of the best at it for sure.”

Wilson said he didn't make a comment in the film room to his own offensive lineman, center Max Unger, after Smith pancaked Unger in the teams' Week 2 matchup. Smith went sack-less in that game at Seattle, but has 4.5 to his name this season.

Even if the statistics don't show it, Smith's domination of larger lineman is a sign that, at 34 and in his 13th NFL season, he is at his best.

"Just a strong man playing extremely strong. It’s rare to see that. He’s got amazing perseverance," said Jim Harbaugh, who awarded the veteran with another game ball on Sunday. "It would take that wouldn’t it? It would take real strength and perseverance and drive to accomplish that.”


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