Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 10/14/14
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Alex Smith has worn a San Francisco 49ers uniform for seven years now. 2011 marks the first time his team has finished above 18th in the league in points. And while he was called upon to manage games for most of the regular season, the playoffs provided a revelation.  Alex Smith, a former bust who has had to struggle his way to mediocrity, outgunned the mighty Drew Brees at the end of of a memorable division-round matchup with the New Orleans Saints. It showed a side of Smith that few had ever seen in the pros, or even guessed was possible. Consider it his Eli Manning moment. He stood uncharacteristically strong in the pocket and fearlessly launched passes deep down the seam and peppered the sidelines, connecting with fellow first-rounders Ted Ginn, Michael Crabtree and his secret weapon, Vernon Davis.  As revelatory as that game was, it also raised the stakes for Smith's play as a passer. For the first time since Steve Young was taking snaps, the 49ers won a playoff game on q...
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