San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith's 2011 season wasn't memorable on account of the stats that he put. He averaged a modest 197 passing yards per game (27th in the league) while finishing 11th in the league in completion percentage. His 17 touchdowns against just five interceptions reveal a steady hand but doesn't get his name in the record books. What did make a lot of folks notice Smith and the 49ers this past season was the 13-3 record and trip to the NFC Championship Game.
As far as Smith is concerned the only number that matters to him is that win total.
"I could absolutely care less on yards per game," Smith said on Wednesday, responding to a question about the 49ers' passing yards per game (29th in the NFL). "I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you're losing games in the second half, guess what, you're like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That's great. You're not winning, though."
It's hard to argue with that rationale. The 49ers lost just three games. The Panthers only won six games, despite Cam Newton's incredible record-breaking season.
However, Panthers linebacker Jon Beason fired back at Smith on Twitter, defending his quarterback.
Touche, Beason. He too has a point. Despite the 13-3 year and quality performance from Smith, San Francisco tried wooing Peyton Manning in the offseason. Perhaps feeling spurned by the 49ers, Smith went out visited the Miami Dolphins and nearly signed with them. But after Manning signed with Denver, Smith went back to San Francisco and inked a three-year deal.