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Troy Smith, a three-year backup with the Ravens, went from third-string quarterback in San Francisco to overnight sensation after delivering a 23-20 overtime win last Sunday.

He threw for 356 yards -- the most by a 49ers' quarterback in six years -- and made all the big plays in a come-from-behind victory over the Rams.

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Afterward, coach Mike Singletary said Smith would start again this week against Tampa Bay, but did not commit to the former Heisman Trophy winner beyond that.

Among the Ravens' final cuts in September, Smith signed with the 49ers on Sept. 6 and worked behind starter Alex Smith and David Carr. When Alex hurt his left shoulder in October, Singletary started Troy ahead of Carr against the Broncos in the NFL's London game. Smith threw for 196 yards and one touchdown and the 49ers won, 24-16.

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In his two starts, Smith has thrown for 552 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 116.6. He's also completing 61.7 percent of his throws.

As best he can, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has tried to follow Smith's progress on the West Coast.

"I haven't see the tape, but we've been kind of texting back and forth," Cameron said. "The one thing that doesn't surprise me is that the game has never been too big for Troy Smith. It was just a matter of him getting the opportunity at the right time, and now that you're a starter, you get the reps in practice.

"Obviously, we all know what a strong personality he is, and he's got the perfect personality to be a starter and probably a personality that makes it tough for him to be a backup. And I can't imagine a better fit for him than he and Mike Singletary."

Cameron also said, "I know everyone here is pulling for him."

Smith was sensational at the end of regulation in the Rams' game. He lost a 43-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass to Vernon Davis on a holding penalty. Then he hit Frank Gore on a 4th-and-18 sideline play that went for 23 yards. The next play, he threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree to put the 49ers ahead, 23-20.

After St. Louis forced overtime with a late field goal, the Rams had possession first and punted. The 49ers ran Gore three straight plays, and on a 3rd-and-2, Smith drew a pass interference penalty that set the 49ers up at the St. Louis 23. Gore ran twice more before Joe Nedney kicked a 29-yard field goal to win the game.

Smith's time in Baltimore was star-crossed. He played behind Kyle Boller as a rookie, and was penciled in as the starter in 2008 -- Joe Flacco's rookie year -- but lost the opportunity to illness.

He was still a dominant voice in the locker room, and as much as a backup could be, a leader. By the end of his third season with the Ravens, though, he was looking to leave for a better opportunity.

In San Francisco, he found one. Singletary said the starting quarterback will be a week-to-week decision, but that Troy would start this week even though Alex has been cleared medically to return to the field.

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