Smith needs to find his inner Tebow

No, Alex Smith doesn’t need to praise God while speaking with the media.

What Smith needs to do is start playing like Tim Tebow when the game is on the line.

While the Broncos quarterback led his team back from a 10-point deficit with under five minutes remaining on Sunday, the 49ers quarterback couldn’t even manage to get his squad within field goal range during the entire 4th quarter against the Cardinals.

Granted, Smith has resuscitated his career under the teaching of Jim Harbaugh, en route to the most impressive season of his career. But his weaknesses still show up when opponents turn up the pressure.

With the 49ers up 19-14 in the 3rd quarter, Alex Smith vanished. With a chance to put the game away, Smith finished the quarter 1-for-7 for six yards. He didn’t fair much better in the final quarter going 3-fo- 7. With under three minutes to go and the Niners needing just one yard to keep the drive alive, Smith threw two straight incompletions.

The pressure will keep mounting for Smith and the 49ers. Pittsburgh and their second-ranked defense comes to town next Monday night. Then the 49ers head to Seattle, one of the toughest places to play because of the crowd noise. After that, the team will face the unmatched pressure of the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, probably against experienced teams like the Saints and Packers.

If Alex Smith can’t handle the upcoming pressure situations, the 49ers will lose the No. 2 seed in the NFC and exit the playoff dance earlier than they, and their fans, want to.