Alex Smith of 49ers still can win passer rating title


We probably haven't seen the end of Alex Smith this season.

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His days as a starter are all but over in San Francisco, but the 49ers backup quarterback can trigger an interesting statistical sidebar to the season with just a few more successful throws. Smith owns a passer rating of 104.1, less than a point behind Aaron Rodgers (104.7) and Robert Griffin III (104.2).

The problem for Smith? He's ineligible for the passing rating crown and needs another seven attempts to climb back into the race.

The New York Times wisely points out that Smith also can improve upon his 70 percent completion rate and break Drew Brees' record (71.2) from a season ago if he completes nine of nine passes over the next two games.

He's not likely to see time Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks if that NFC West tilt stays close, but there's a decent shot Smith could play in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Not a bad resume builder for a player we expect to find a new home during the offseason.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.