Smith silences critics after 49ers rout Bills 45-3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Since last season's surprising run to the NFC championship game, San Francisco 49ers fans could only imagine the possibilities if Alex Smith and the offense ever matched the defense's dominance.
Just Saturday night, Smith added another punchline when he badly bounced the ceremonial first pitch of the San Francisco Giants-Cincinnati Reds playoff series in the dirt. Some teased aloud whether the quarterback could even throw.
With the New York Giants returning to Candlestick Park next for the first time since ending San Francisco's season, the only one laughing now is the 49ers quarterback.
Smith had one of the most prolific passing games of his eight-year career Sunday, throwing for a season-high 303 yards and three touchdowns to help the 49ers set a franchise record with 621 total yards in a 45-3 romp over the Buffalo Bills. San Francisco became the first team in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing.
"I was keeping the ball down, isn't that what good pitchers do?" Smith joked about his pitch. "I was working the count. I had an open base."
In the grand scheme of a 16-game season, all the records still only add up to one win against a Buffalo (2-3) team that has been embarrassed in back-to-back weeks. Even so, it's hard to overlook what San Francisco might be capable of if Smith and his receivers can play like this.
Michael Crabtree (seven catches for 113 yards) and Vernon Davis (seven catches for 106 yards) each eclipsed the century mark to pull San Francisco (4-1) into a tie with Arizona for the NFC West lead. Even Randy Moss, rarely targeted in his comeback, caught a pass for 11 yards.
Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick out of Utah, threw TD passes of 43, 28 and 10 yards and surpassed 300 yards passing for only the third time in his career — and first in a victory. The last time came when he had 309 yards in a loss at Philadelphia two years ago — "a completely different world," he said — in former coach Mike Singletary's final season.
"Quarterback was near perfect," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Bills again found themselves on the wrong side of a 49ers record — and quite a few others, too.
Rian Lindell kicked a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter before the 49ers scored the final 42 points to hand Buffalo (2-3) its second straight embarrassing loss. San Francisco's previous best was 598 yards in a 34-31 loss to the Bills on Sept. 13, 1992, which also was Buffalo's worst.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 126 yards and an interception, and the Bills rushed for only 89 yards, most with the game well out of hand once again.
"They flat-out dominated the game from end to end," Fitzpatrick said. "We just got beat bad by a better team today. There was no fancy stuff. They are who they are and they just played better."
The Bills allowed 45 second-half points and 580 total yards in a humiliating 52-28 home loss to New England last week. Beginning a two-week road trip, Buffalo's baggage also traveled to the West Coast.
Since taking a 21-7 lead against the Patriots, Buffalo has been outscored 90-10. The Patriots and 49ers combined to gain 1,201 yards. And with the 49ers shredding the New York Jets last week, they've outscored opponents 79-3 in their last two games.
The Bills became the first team to give up at least 550 yards in consecutive games in the same season since the 1950 New York Yanks.
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