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NFL: Smith's rally falls short

Published October 25, 2009 8:06 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Alex Smith was given a chance to rally the San Francisco 49ers to an unlikely victory. He almost pulled it off. Almost.

Smith replaced Shaun Hill at quarterback to start second half and threw three touchdowns to Vernon Davis, but Eugene Wilson intercepted a Smith pass on the 49ers' final drive to give the Houston Texans a 24-21 victory.

"I just thought it was time to make the switch," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "It was as simple as that. No long, drawn-out thought process. But let's make the change."

Singletary wouldn't say who would start next week.

Michael Crabtree started in his NFL debut and had five receptions for 56 yards. His first game after ending a 71-day contract holdout Oct. 7 was overshadowed by the quarterback shake-up. In Smith's first game since 2007, he sparked San Francisco's offense and was 15-for-22 for 206 yards. The former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Utah made only one major blunder -- the desperation throw that Wilson picked off.

"Starting the second half, down three scores, you're seeing some stagnant looks from the defense, they're not throwing as much at you," Smith said.

Mario Williams, who was the top overall pick the year after Smith, said dealing with the quarterback change was difficult.

"I didn't know who the guy was when he came out," Williams said. "I really didn't. It was one of those things where he definitely managed the game for them. He was getting rid of the ball on time and moving the ball."

Texans 24, 49ers 21

San Francisco00714--21
Houston71403--24

First Quarter

Hou » Slaton 1 run (K.Brown kick), 2:27.

Second Quarter

Hou » Slaton 9 pass from Schaub (K.Brown kick), 10:40.

Hou » Daniels 42 pass from Schaub (K.Brown kick), 4:24.

Third Quarter

SF » V.Davis 29 pass from A.Smith (Nedney kick), 11:01.

Fourth Quarter

SF » V.Davis 14 pass from A.Smith (Nedney kick), 12:43.

Hou » FG K.Brown 50, 7:16.

SF » V.Davis 23 pass from A.Smith (Nedney kick), 3:43.

Attendance » 70,820.

SF Hou

First downs1718
Total Net Yards297336
Rushes-yards19-5927-90
Passing238246
Punt Returns1-05-26
Kickoff Returns3-944-75
Interceptions Ret.0-01-16
Comp-Att-Int21-33-120-30-0
Sacked-Yards Lost2-132-18
Punts5-48.25-37.2
Fumbles-Lost1-11-1
Penalties-yards11-657-77
Time of Possession29:3130:29

Individual Statistics

Rushing » San Francisco, Gore 13-32, A.Smith 2-16, Morgan 1-6, Coffee 2-3, S.Hill 1-2. Houston, Slaton 18-67, C.Brown 4-14, Schaub 5-9.

Passing » San Francisco, A.Smith 15-22-1-206, S.Hill 6-11-0-45. Houston, Schaub 20-30-0-264.

Receiving » San Francisco, V.Davis 7-93, Crabtree 5-56, Morgan 4-62, Bruce 2-23, Gore 2-15, Walker 1-2. Houston, Daniels 7-123, Slaton 4-22, Walter 3-29, A.Johnson 2-62, Anderson 2-10, Davis 1-14, C.Brown 1-4.