Originally posted on NBC Bay Area  |  Last updated 11/17/11
Alex Smith is enjoying this season too much to think ahead. The 49ers’ quarterback, now in his seventh NFL season in San Francisco, would rather think about how his team is 8-1, how the Arizona Cardinals are next up on the schedule this Sunday at Candlestick Park and how the Niners now seem a lock to clinch the NFC West and make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Already, NFL observers, including Mike Sando of ESPN, have concocted numerous and complicated scenarios to predict when the 49ers will win their division, and if they could set a record for securing the earliest-ever playoff berth. For his part in what the 49ers have done this season, Smith already has been nominated as a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, along with Tony Romo of the Cowboys, Matthew Stafford of the Lions, Steve Smith of the Panthers and Jermichael Finley of the Packers. Smith, who is playing on a one-year, $5 million contract, has completed 64 percent of his passes and thrown just three interceptions
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