Forget Tebow Time. We just saw Alex Time.
Alex Smith silenced the naysayers.
It took one game. One impressive game. One game that will loop in the minds of 49ers fan forever.
Smith and 49ers came back twice with under four minutes left in the 4th quarter to send the Saints marching back to New Orleans. After the Saints took their first lead of the day with 4:02 left in the game, Harbaugh called a brilliant naked bootleg to the left side. Smith ran the play to perfection and sprinted down the sideline untouched for a 28-yard go-ahead touchdown.
But Drew Brees only needed 34 seconds to move the Saints down the field. They recaptured the lead on a Jimmy Graham 66-yard touchdown. Graham caught the ball at the 49ers’ 37 and did the rest with his feet and threw in a stiff-arm as he crossed the goal line. Just like that, 49ers fans saw their season slipping away. With 1:37 seconds left, Alex Smith needed to put together the drive of his life.
The hope was that Smith could at least get the team in position to give David Akers a chance to send the game to overtime. But Smith and Vernon Davis had other plans. They didn’t give up.
Smith threw one up for Davis down the left sideline, resulting in a 47-yard play, putting the 49ers in field goal range with plenty of time to go for the kill.
Then, reminiscent of Steve Young to Terrell Owens from 1998, Smith hit Vernon Davis over the middle for the game-winning touchdown with 9 seconds left. Davis was seen running off the field in the arms of Harbaugh with tears running down his face, just like Owens did 14 years ago.
“I got the window and I cut it loose,” Smith told the media after the game.
With the game — and the season — on the line, Smith showed the poise that everybody had been waiting for. He didn’t overthrow passes. He didn’t panic in the pocket. He hung in there, made perfect passes and won the game.
He won the game.