For once, Alex Smith is in the news for the right reason. The NFC West scuttlebutt in the offseason was all about every other quarterback in the division—Sam Bradford and his new offense for the Rams, Tarvaris Jackson and Kevin Kolb helming the Seahawks and Cardinals—while the San Francisco 49ers quietly gave their former number-one-overall quarterback, benched at times last season for Troy Smith, one more shot at the position. Through three games it's looking like a good decision: Smith and the 49ers are now, at 2-1, atop the NFC West following their 13-8 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Smith continued to play a risk-averse kind of football, completing 20 of 30 passes for 201 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions, and although star running back Frank Gore continues to struggle the 49ers used a touchdown from Kendall Hunter and a 53-yard field goal from David Akers to take a fourth quarter lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Week 4 the 49ers will catch a break—Mike Vick's broken hand in the Philadelphia Eagles' loss against the New York Giants Sunday means the Niners will face either Mike Kafka or Vince Young in their road contest at Philadelphia.