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Smith continues to make smart decisions for 49ers

SANTA CLARA — Alex Smith always considered the boos from his home crowd just part of the territory as an NFL quarterback.

He'd rather hear something than nothing at all to know they truly care.

For those numerous unfriendly jabs and the constant criticism he has endured in a roller coaster seven-year career, Smith is suddenly giving people plenty to cheer about this season for surprising San Francisco (3-1).

"You can't be sensitive," Smith said Wednesday. "I think it's tough to play quarterback in the NFL if you don't (have a thick skin). That's anywhere. You're going to face scrutiny. That's the way it is."

The 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick is thriving under new coach Jim Harbaugh's guidance and in his multilayered West Coast offense, rallying the 49ers from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to an improbable 24-23 win at Philadelphia on Sunday. Smith hopes to continue that progress through a tough home test Sunday against Tampa Bay, which is also 3-1 and whipped the Niners 21-0 last November at Candlestick Park.

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