Alex Smith has been sacked 51 times since the start of 2011. We're talking about David Carr numbers here. But unlike the Carr-era Houston Texans, the San Francisco 49ers advanced to the NFC Championship Game last season and are now the early Super Bowl favorite.
Smith and San Francisco have a simple philosophy -- sacks are better than interceptions.
"Obviously, you don't want to take sacks, but sometimes it's not the end of the world," Smith told The Associated Press. "You watch Aaron Rodgers play, a guy that takes a lot of sacks, but he also makes a lot of plays with his feet, keeps plays alive. There is some give and take there with not just forcing balls and getting rid of the ball."
Smith has thrown the fewest interceptions of any quarterback since the beginning of last season. He holds the team regular-season record with 216 attempts without a pick. That would be 284 including the playoffs.
"If your ultimate goal is to keep your stats low in sacks, then he needs to get rid of the ball," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "Our ultimate goal is to win games, and you don't lose games getting sacks. You lose games by turning the ball over and not scoring enough points.
"There's some times where you quantify a sack as a smart sack for a quarterback, at least we would."
Can't argue with Roman. You'd rather take a sack than blindly throw into coverage to avoid it. What amazes me, still, is we're talking about Alex Smith. The same Alex Smith who threw 53 interceptions in 50 starts before 2011.
Keep doing your thing, late bloomer.Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.