San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has been denied the NFL record for highest completion percentage in a game after Elias Sports Bureau, the agency that handles stats for the league, ruled that his 20th potential pass in an Oct. 29 game was instead a lateral, according to Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News:
“It definitely was a pass,” Harbaugh said after his Tuesday press conference. “You guys are on to something.” Added right guard Alex Boone: “I’m kinda upset he’s not in the record book. He had a great game and put the ball where it needed to be.”
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner currently holds the record, completing 24 of 26 passes in a 2009 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In order to qualify for the record, the quarterback must throw a minimum of 20 pass attempts. Smith finished the game 18 of 19, recording 232 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-3 win in Arizona against the Cardinals. San Francisco had appealed the initial ruling of his stat line following the game and the findings from the review were confirmed Wednesday evening by the Bureau. The initial calling on the field was that it was, in fact, a lateral to Michael Crabtree, who caught the backward pass from Smith and ran on third-and-19 for a gain of eight yards. Though not an NFL record for Smith, there was a silver lining for him; he made NFL history that game for the most pass attempts in a game with one or fewer incompletions.