SANTA CLARA – Just as his emotions blasted to the surface last season, exposing what had become painfully obvious with the 49ers’ passing game, Torrey Smith on Sunday could not mask his feelings.
Smith made his break toward the middle of the field on a deep post pattern and gained enough separation from Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne to give 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert a large window of opportunity.
However, Gabbert left his pass outside, instead of leading Smith to the inside. The ball was also underthrown. Instead of getting burned for a 55-yard touchdown, Claiborne was in such poor position, he was able to make the easy game-changing interception.
Smith stomped to the sideline, where he threw down his helmet in anger.
“I was very frustrated, especially after the big post we missed on, because that’s a game-changing play,” Smith said. “I feel like if we hit that, we win the game. I was frustrated. I shouldn’t, you know, probably show it as much. But I want to win.
“In general, it’s hard to get that open, period, in the NFL, and especially on deep shots. We just got to make it hit. Like I said, that’s a game-changing play for us.”
The 49ers trailed 21-17 at the time. San Francisco went on to lose its third consecutive game, 24-17, after Smith’s only reception of the game resulted in a 3-yard gain on a fourth-and-6 pass from Gabbert with 1:56 remaining in the game.
“Torrey and I are fine,” Gabbert said. “It was one play. We both wanted to hit on it. It was a big play in that football game and it didn’t turn out. The past is the past. We’ve moved on from that.
“We’re both on the same page on what we see in that route and we’re going to hit that moving forward. We were both frustrated at the time. That happens. We’re competitive guys. I don’t want to throw a pick there. I’d much rather throw a 65-yard touchdown. Trust me. We’ve just got to move forward and you learn from that experience.”
The 49ers have a quick turnaround this week, as they return to action Thursday evening against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.
“I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year, our team is only going to go as far as our passing game goes,” Smith said. “We have to take pride in that and get it going. Obviously, it’s going to be hard against a team like this, a solid defense like this.”
The 49ers’ passing game has been atrocious through four games. Although Gabbert has been sacked only three times in four games, the 49ers rank last in the NFL with 178.8 passing yards per game. Gabbert’s passer rating of 73.1 ranks the 49ers No. 30 in that category.
Smith is in his second season with the 49ers after signing a five-year, $40 million contract, including an $8 million signing bonus. Smith showed similar frustration last year when the 49ers' passing game stalled and Colin Kaepernick could not get the ball to him.
Smith posted career-lows with 33 receptions for 663 yards. He is currently fourth on the 49ers with nine catches for 106 yards and one touchdown.