Niners quarterback Alex Smith had a rough day against the Giants. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Kenny Stabler once had seven of his passes intercepted in one game.
George Blanda, Brett Favre, John Brodie, Joe Namath and Peyton Manning are among the many NFL quarterbacks who have had six passes picked off in one game. All were exceptional quarterbacks.
So the fact Alex Smith threw three interceptions Sunday in a 26-3 loss to the New York Giants isn’t cause for alarm.
Though Smith’s career doesn’t put him in the company of many of those Hall of Fame or consistent Pro Bowl quarterbacks, he’s a good quarterback who had a bad day. He came into the game leading the NFL in passer rating and went out of it with his head down.
Stabler, Blanda, Favre, Brodie, Namath and Manning all went through the same thing – and lived to pick apart other defenses on better days.
When Thursday night rolls around, Smith will be the starting quarterback of the 49ers when they host the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite the fact last year’s second-round pick, Colin Kaepernick, has gradually been worked into the offense in recent weeks – providing a change of pace with his running ability out of the wildcat formation – Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh emphasized Monday that Smith is his No. 1 guy.
“We’ve been using Colin as an added weapon,” Harbaugh told reporters in his Monday news conference. “We feel we’ve been getting plenty of everything from Alex Smith. We’ll leave it there.”
Since he became 49ers head coach in 2011, Harbaugh has consistently been in Smith’s corner. He still is.
Smith, meanwhile, has a recent history of rebounding. After losing his starting job in 2010 and being booed by 49ers fans, he came back in 2011 with the best season of his career.
After a rough Sunday outing against the Giants, Smith acknowledged his mistakes will haunt him. On Monday, he said that’s his personality. Losses and bad performances stick with him.
“Definitely, not right away, that’s not me, no,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Lynch Monday. “Waking up, thinking about it, replaying it even a little bit.”
Of his three interceptions Sunday, Smith acknowledged the second two bother him the most.
“It’s third down and you’re trying to make a play, but you’re just making matters worse,” he told Lynch. “You really have to see the bigger picture there, make good decisions on both of those cases. That’s what I’m kicking myself for.”
For his part, Harbaugh said Monday it’s time to stop thinking about Sunday’s loss and start thinking about Thursday night’s matchup with Seattle.
“Dust off and let’s ride,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday. “We’ve got a football fight coming.”