SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are taking a Hail Mary shot that Alex Smith might have attempted a 20th pass Monday night, thus qualifying him for the NFL's highest completion percentage ever in a game.
Smith officially completed 18 of 19 passes (94.7 percent) in the 49ers' 24-3 win at Arizona.
On Tuesday, the 49ers asked the NFL's official statistician, the Elias Sports Bureau, to review a fourth-quarter play in which wide receiver Michael Crabtree was credited with a rushing attempt rather than a reception.
"It definitely was a pass," coach Jim Harbaugh said after his Tuesday news conference.
On that opening play of the fourth quarter, Smith threw a pass that Crabtree caught and ran for an 8-yard gain. Officials ruled it a lateral, and preliminary findings showed it was barely a backward pass.
Now the ball is in Elias' hands, so to speak. The 49ers are expecting to hear on their long-shot appeal Wednesday afternoon.
The NFL's official record book requires a minimum of 20 attempts to establish a single-game record for completion percentage. Kurt Warner set that standard in 2009 with the Arizona Cardinals (92.3 percent, 24 of 26).
Smith at least surpassed a mark Fran Tarkenton set in 1977 for the Minnesota Vikings, and one that Craig Morton matched in 1981 for the Denver Broncos. Both went 17 of 18 for a 94.4 completion percentage, the previous high with at least 15 attempts. At 19 of 20, Smith would be at 95 percent.
"Alex Smith really took care of business last nite," Tarkenton tweeted. "Congratulations on the new record."
Smith did not talk to the media while passing through the locker room, other than to confirm he does not have a Twitter account. "I don't even know how to Twitter," Smith said.
Smith, however, perused left tackle Joe Staley's Twitter account as they sat next to each other on the flight home, while Smith's name was trending as a hot topic. Staley said it would be "very out of character" for Smith to sign up for Twitter and answer his constant critics.
"He's won 19 games the last two years, and they're still questioning if he's our leader," Staley said. "There's no question in this locker room. He's our quarterback."
Added right guard Alex Boone: "I'm kind of upset he's not in the record book. He had a great game and put the ball where it needed to be."
Said defensive end Ray McDonald: "We want to be a championship team. We're all grown men. We've made it to this point for a reason, and we're dedicated to a cause. When we leave here, you don't want to be the one to put the team in jeopardy."
The 49ers (6-2) lead the NFC West by two games after back-to-back wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Cardinals. "We definitely have a lot to do when we come back, but we're in a good spot right now," defensive lineman Justin Smith said.
Asked about an 18-catch output Sunday by Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, Davis replied: "I look at it as I can do that, too. It's cool. My time will come."
As an example how opponents are defending Davis, Harbaugh said defensive ends will disengage from pass-rush duties to chip Davis at the line or shadow him a few yards.