"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.
October 29, 2012
Quarterback Alex Smith fired 19 passes, completed 18 of them and had one dropped. If not for the drop, Smith would have had a perfect Monday night. He completed 94.7 percent of his throws against the Arizona Cardinals, the most efficient pass completion effort in 49ers history as San Francisco rolled to a 24-3 victory.
In all fairness, to be eligible for the 49ers "official" completion record, quarterbacks must throw at least 20 passes in a game. Steve Young holds that milestone after connecting on 18 of 20 throws in 1991 against Detroit. In other words, Smith could have fired his 20th pass into the stands and he still would have tied Young's record.
"Eighteen of 19. I have never seen that before," proclaimed Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers bemused but joyful head coach.
Smith's near-flawless game included 232 passing yards and three touchdowns as the 49ers ran roughshod over the defenseless Cardinals. His accuracy was evident on the first touchdown drive as he connected on all four of his passes for 66 yards, including a three-yard scoring dart to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
"We had a good rhythm going. Everything seemed to be clicking," the understated Smith said after finishing with an astronomical 157.1 QB rating.
Smith spread the ball around to nine different pass catchers. Crabtree topped all 49ers receivers with five receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Mario Manningham posted four catches for 20 yards. Randy Moss hauled in just one pass, but it went for 47 yards and a score.
Joe Staley enjoyed watching Smith's performance from his left tackle spot. "They (Arizona) wanted to put the ball in Alex's hands and have him beat them," Staley said. "And he kicked their (behinds) today."
It turned out to be Smith's last full contest with the 49ers. In the next game, he suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams and was replaced at quarterback by Colin Kaepernick.
After the 2012 campaign, Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. During his seven seasons in San Francisco, the former first-round draft pick completed 59.3 percent of his 2,177 passes for 14,280 yards and 81 touchdowns.