Put on the broken record and let to echoes rain in from the analysts about the Arizona Cardinals offensive line woes. The Cardinals have now dropped four straight games, after starting off undefeated in the opening quarter of the season. Arizona kept the game interesting for much of the first half, “stalling” the 49ers in allowing only 10 point on San Francisco’s first four drives of the game. However, missed tackles and the “Randy Moss factor” soon blew the game open for the 9ers.
Alex Smith has nearly a perfect game going 18 of 19 passing for 232 yards with 3 touchdowns, no interception, and an astonishing 157.1 quarterback rating. On a rare night where Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter were off of their game, the 49ers receivers picked up the slack, making huge gains after the catch to convert on key third downs and, more importantly, touchdowns late in the game. Crabtree broke out in this game, catching all five of his targets for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns.
However, the offensive performance should take nothing away from the domination delivered by the San Francisco defense. They stuffed the run, allowed only 8 carries for 6 yards by LaRod Stephens-Howling (sometime refered to as the “Chris Johnson”). Aldon Smith had a monster game, recording 5 tackles and 2 sacks on a 49ers defense that ranks in the bottom tier of the league in overall sacks this season. To make matters worse, Larry Fitzgerald was taken out of the game early after landing awkwardly on his head and Early Doucet took a monster hit late in the game that even the fans in the stands could feel.
Luckily for the Cardinals, Jay Feeley was able to tac on a field goal at the end of the game to save the team from a shutout, but that may be the only high of the night. Arizona is now sitting at .500, with a 4-4 overall record and a 1-2 record within the division. The San Francisco 49ers sit firmly atop the NFC West, improving to 6-2 overall, and 2-0 in the division with wins against Seattle and Arizona. The 9ers, like the St. Louis Rams, will get a some extra rest heading into the bye next week. The Cards’, on the other hand, will have to take on the red-hot Green Bay Packers in Week 9 before getting a much needed break.
Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 24, Arizona Cardinals 3