Justin Smith leading defense

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers defense has been playing at a high level most of the season. It's been dominant the past two weeks and they team has gotten back on the winning track.

A key to the high level of play has been venerable defensive lineman Justin Smith. 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that Smith got a game ball for his efforts against the St. Louis Rams just like he did the previous week against the Washington Redskins.

“It was just his usual good performance,” Harbaugh said of the 34-year-old Smith. “Probably in on nine, 10 tackles, four hurries. Excellent job in the run stopping. He’s playing very good football.”

In other 49ers’ notes:

Most opposing coaches are not sad to be making their final trip to Candlestick Park. It closes after this season. However, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he "loves it." Carroll, a former 49ers’ assistant, is a San Francisco native. He said he used to go to Candlestick Park early before Giants' baseball games as a youth to see Willie Mays warm up.

Harbaugh's high school coach, at nearby Palo Alto High, spent time visiting with Harbaugh and his father Jack prior to practice Wednesday.