It's been more than a month since Colin Kaepernick became the man in San Francisco. The Niners were 6-2, and Alex Smith's numbers were sparkling—not just for his supposed game-manager image, but up there with anyone in the league. And then Smith took a couple of hard hits in the first half of a game against the Rams. After having done everything asked of him and more, those would be the last snaps he would take. "The only thing I did to lose my job," Smith said later, "was get a concussion."
No one's going to remember Smith's eight-game season as an accomplishment, but the statistics don't lie. Take his passer rating, the arcane, occasionally misleading metric that now seems authoritative after the introduction of ESPN's more arcane, more misleading Total QBR formula. It's a measure of efficiency, not volume. And as the New York Times points out, Smith's passer rating is 104.1, just behind Robert Griffin's 104.2 and Aaron Rodgers's 104.7. There's every chance that Rodgers and RG3 have a couple of slightly-less-than-great games, ceding the passing title to Smith—much like a suspended Melky Cabrera would have won the batting title, if not for MLB's dumb deus ex machina.