Niners have earned extra days off with wins heading into bye

Paul Connors/APFaith: Alex Smith has earned the trust of his 49ers teammates

Paul Connors/APFaith: Alex Smith has earned the trust of his 49ers teammates

Niners left tackle Joe Staley claims he caught quarterback and seatmate Alex Smith checking out his trending Twitter self while on the team plane awaiting takeoff Monday night from Arizona.

Ha, says Smith, who insists he has no idea how to tweet.

“I don’t even have a Twitter,” Smith quipped with a grin Tuesday during a quick walk through the empty locker room. “I don’t know what Twitter is.”

They can argue that one all they want, yet nobody will deny that Smith and the 49ers (6-2) have been downright dominant of late, including a 24-3 “Monday Night Football” rout of the Cardinals in a hostile road stadium. In a near-perfect night, Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

His passer rating: 157.1.

Smith’s stellar outing sparked coach Jim Harbaugh’s now heard-everywhere “gobble gobble” remarks when asked about the confidence of his quarterback.

“Just gobble, gobble, gobble turkey. That paints a pretty good picture. He’s a very confident guy,” the coach said.

Staley, for one, hadn’t heard Harbaugh use the “gobble gobble” one before, but Harbaugh is always pulling out new catchphrases. Smith has long been criticized, even booed, by fans at Candlestick Park before leading the 49ers back to the postseason last year.

“Just a lot of talk, gobble gobble,” Staley said. “I don’t think that’s ever been an issue in the locker room, just people talking. He’s won 19 games in the last two years and there’s still questions if he’s a leader of this football team. There are no questions in this locker room. He’s our quarterback.”

Suddenly, this season is looking an awful lot like that special 2011 run. Harbaugh’s team is in command of the NFC West again as November nears, heading into the bye week on a roll.

And not to forget the stingy, top-ranked defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown in four of the past five games.
“They’re accomplishing some great things,” Harbaugh said. “That’s really impressive, really hard to do in this league.”

Now, they all get to rest.

A few weeks back, Harbaugh struck a deal with his players that for each win before the break he would give them an additional day off on top of the NFL’s four-day mandate. San Francisco lost to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Oct. 14, then beat the Seattle Seahawks and Cardinals in a pair of divisional prime-time performances.

So, they are not due back in the building until Tuesday — though many planned to stay around and work out at team headquarters.

49ersJim HarbaughNFLSan FranciscoSan Francisco 49ers

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