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Smith, 49ers come up short

  • Alex Smith brought his team back in the 4th quater but the 49ers lost to the Eagles 27-24 at Candlestick Park on October 10, 2010.

SAN FRANCISCO — In a bizarre night at Candlestick Park, Alex Smith's improbable bid to transform himself from whipping boy to wonder boy came up just short.

Smith, the 49ers long-embattled quarterback, committed three turnovers, was booed endlessly, nearly yanked from the game and, yet, he was nearly hailed as a hero in San Francisco's 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

After Smith couldn't pull off a minor miracle — failing to extract the Niners from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit he helped create — San Francisco will now need some sort of magic to save its sinking season. The 49ers dropped to 0-5, matching their worst start in 31 years, and instead of cruising to the NFC West title, as was widely predicted, they are one of the NFL's three winless teams. No 0-5 team has ever made the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadephia Eagles

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For much of the past week, coach Mike Singletary and his players have said they need to stop shooting themselves in the foot, to borrow their oft-repeated phrase. And following their latest clinic in self-destruction, their marching orders haven't changed.

The stats from Sunday: Three fumbles. Two interceptions. Ten penalties.

The Niners have lost three games by a combined eight points. And the script has looked strikingly familiar. In those three defeats, they've committed 12 turnovers.

"The thing we knew we could not do was turn over the ball," Singletary said. "But yet we did it."

With more than 13 minutes left, San Francisco, despite three previous turnovers, still trailed just 17-10.

But then, true to form, they drove the nail into their own coffin with a miscue that unleashed five weeks of frustration from the Niners faithful.

On a second-and-5 from the Philadelphia 35, Smith, under pressure from Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, rolled left and fumbled while attempting to pass. The loose ball was scooped up by safety Quintin Mikell and returned for a 52-yard touchdown.


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