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QB Smith to get another test from Eagles

Sep 19, 2006 - 10:52 PM Philadelphia (1-1) at San Francisco (1-1) Sunday 4:15 pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Alex Smith's second season is off to a far different start than his rookie campaign.

Smith should receive a stern test Sunday when he guides the San Francisco 49ers into a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The first overall pick in the 2005 draft, Smith struggled as a rookie, completing just over 50 percent of his passes and just one touchdown with 11 interceptions in nine games.

Smith is showing development through the first two games of this season. He has completed 54.8 percent (34-of-62) of his passes for 521 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

Now Smith will receive a major challenge from the Eagles, who love to blitz under aggressive defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Philadelphia has registered a league-leading 13 sacks in its first two games.

Last week, Smith completed 11-of-22 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown to lead the Niners to a 20-13 victory over St. Louis.

Smith is not the only Niner improving on offense. Running back Frank Gore, a 2005 third-round pick, has amassed 307 total yards and three touchdowns in two games. He rushed for 127 yards and a TD last week.

The Eagles enter this contest trying to recover after squandering a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in last Sunday's 30-24 overtime loss to the New York Giants.

Donovan McNabb had his second straight strong game as he threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns. He has passed for 664 yards and five TDs with an interception in the first two games.

McNabb enjoyed last season's meeting against the Niners, throwing for 342 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-3 victory.

Philadelphia held a 583-142 advantage in total yards.

In the collapse against the Giants, the Eagles lost three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jevon Kearse to a season-ending knee injury.

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