Smith has made so many positive strides and memories since then, such as leading the 49ers back to the playoffs last season after an eight-year absence.
Smith had no idea Sunday until he was told afterword just how prolific San Francisco's single-game performance had been in the running and passing games. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns on the way to a remarkable 156.2 quarterback rating.
"I felt like a lot of us were pretty frustrated just by the self-inflicted mistakes — the penalties and the yards we lost in the first half," Smith said. "Obviously, there after the third quarter, a pretty successful third quarter, second half. Then when someone told me early in the fourth quarter, I guess it made sense, thinking back, yeah, we had been pretty productive and had done some good things. But no idea it was record setting."
In addition, with Frank Gore running for 106 yards and Michael Crabtree (113) and Vernon Davis (106) each going over the 100-yard mark in yards receiving, it was the first time since 1951 that the Niners had a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game.
So much for the offense trying to match its talented defense now. Since that 24-13 Week 3 loss at Minnesota on Sept. 23, the 49ers have combined to outscore the New York Jets and Bills 79-3.
"It's very important for the offense to carry the team this week," Davis said. "Last year we didn't do what we were supposed to."
Davis is one of many San Francisco players to say he's still bitter about that 20-17 overtime loss to the Giants in the NFC championship game at Candlestick back in January.
For years, Davis has been among Smith's biggest supporters — always confident he would emerge among the NFL's top quarterbacks.
"I've always thought Alex was a warrior," Davis said. "Alex's confidence level is rising."
Last month, Crabtree called for the offense to keep up with the defense. Not that the guys on the other side of the ball ever had any doubts.
"We see the way those guys practice," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "For them to go out there and put up the numbers that they put up, they were extraordinary numbers. We never underestimate our offense. We know that they're capable, at any time, of having a big game."