The 49ers will go for their eighth-straight win today against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has certainly been playing better than their 3-6 record would indicate and they’ve won two in a row with John Skelton under center. It’s also the 49ers first game against a division opponent since Week One.
Frank Gore is listed as questionable for the 49ers, but told reporters that he expects to play.
49ers Inactives: QB Scott Tolzien, WR Brett Swain, S Madieu Williams, FB Moran Norris, G Daniel Kilgore, G Mike Person, NT Ian Williams.
Cardinals Inactives: QB Kevin Kolb, WR Stephen Williams, FS Kerry Rhodes, LB Joey Porter, T D’Anthony Batiste, TE Rob Housler, TE Todd Heap
The 49ers won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. David Akers’ kickoff went out of the end zone for a touchback. Carlos Rogers broke up Skelton’s third down pass to Fitzgerald to force a three and out. A holding call against the 49ers backed them up to the 19.
On 3rd and 10, Smith stepped up and hit Michael Crabtree on a go route down the left sideline for a gain of 38. Crabtree gave the corner a stutter step to create separation and Smith’s pass was right on the money. Smith converted on third down once again, hitting Crabtree for a gain of 13 on a comeback on the left side. Smith looked for Crabtree once again on third down, but the pass was too high. Akers’ 46-yard field goal attempt was blocked and the Cardinals took over at the 41.
Brown broke up Skelton’s 2nd down pass to Roberts and Willis was right there to pick it off and return it to the 38.
The 49ers couldn’t convert on third down and Akers hooked the 49-yard attempt.
The defense was able to force another three and out. They got pressure on Skelton on third down and forced a poor throw. Tramaine Brock drew a personal foul on the return and the 49ers got the ball at the 37.
Vernon Davis made a nice play to convert on third down, catching the pass on a crossing route and fighting to get just enough to move the sticks. On the next play, Smith found Davis again on a seem down the middle. Wilson had good coverage, but Davis came back and made the catch. Gore then had his best run of the day, cutting it up the middle for 14 yards. Bruce Miller nearly scored on a quick out to the left side as he dove for the pylon. The official ruled that the fullback stepped out of bounds. Harbaugh threw the challenge flag, but the play wasn’t reviewable and it was probably a good thing since the replay showed he stepped out of bounds at the 4. Either way, it was a great effort by Miller. Braylon Edwards dropped what would have been a touchdown on 3rd down. It was a bit high, but could have been caught. The 49ers settled for a 22-yard field goal.
49ers 3 – Cardinals 0
Another deep kick by Akers went out of the end zone for a touchback. Patrick Willis forced a fumble by Wells and it was recovered by Whitner. It was initially ruled that Wells was down, but Harbaugh challenged the play and the call was corrected.
The 49ers couldn’t get anything going on their drive and they settled for a 43-yard field goal by Akers.
49ers 6 – Cardinals 0
Skelton dropped the ball on third down, picked it up and was then sacked by Brooks for an eight-yard loss.
Highlight Reel: Willis and Brown made a great play for the interception. Brown initially broke up the pass and Willis was in great position to grab the tipped ball for the pick.
Standout Stat: Skelton completed just one pass for 0 yards.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have had their opportunities, but have settled for four field goal attempts and made just two. Gore has 27 yards rushing and might look to get him involved more. It’s been more of a passing game plan, at least to start. Gore has been running well and doesn’t look to be slowed down by the knee injury.
After the punt, the 49ers got the ball at the 39-yard line. Smith picked up the 3rd and short on a QB sneak and then hit Kyle Williams crossing on the next play for a gain of 13. The Cardinals loaded the box on 3rd and 1 so Greg Roman called a quick out to Crabtree on the motion. Smith had an easy throw and Crabtree got all the way down to the 16. The 49ers again had to settle for a field goal, which was blocked by Patrick Peterson.
The defense got the ball back, allowing just one first down before forcing the punt. NaVorro Bowman is having a great game so far and made a nice stop against Wells for no gain on that drive. Ginn was rocked on the punt return, but got up right away and looked fine. A holding call on the return backed them up to the 14.
Gore had some running room up the middle and cut it upfield for a gain of 12 to start the drive. Kendall Hunter entered the game for Gore and played well, picking up a first down as Smith found him on a check down. On 4th and 2, Smith rolled right and hit Kyle Williams on a comeback at the 20-yard line. Harbaugh considered going for it on another 4th and 1, but sent out Akers who connected on a 29-yard field goal. It was a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
49ers 9 – Cardinals 0
Skelton was pressured by Aldon Smith on third down and his throw was short of the running back in the right flat. The punt was downed as the clock expired.
Highlight Reel: I loved the agressive play call on 4th down. Smith rolled right and threw a strike to Williams who has 3 catches for 35 yards.
Standout Stat: The 49ers have 249 yards of offense while the Cardinals have just 52.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers are outplaying the Cardinals, but haven’t been able to distance themselves. They haven’t been able to punch it in in the red zone, two field goals have been blocked and one was missed. Gore got more involved in the second quarter. He has 64 yards rushing and is running hard. The 49ers will get the ball to start the second half and need to use that opportunity to widen the lead. The defense has played exceptionally well, but you can’t let teams hang around.
On the second play of the drive, Smith hit Crabtree quick left and Crab made some nice moves, breaking tackles out to the 46. Crabtree picked up another first down as Smith hit him on the right side and Crab beat his man up the sideline for a gain of 15. On 4th and an inch, Smith gave it to Gore who plunged up the middle to convert and keep the drive alive. Smith scrambled up the middle on the next third down and dove at the 10-yard line after picking up the first down. The Niners were able to punch it in as Smith hit Kyle Williams by the goal line. Williams turned and got the ball just across the line.
49ers 16 – Cardinals 0
The 49ers pressured Skelton who made a poor decision to chuck it deep. It was an easy interception for Whitner who followed a host of blockers back to the AZ 37.
On the first play after the pick, Smith rolled right and found Kyle Williams for a nice gain and a first down. Smith then threw a perfect pass to Vernon Davis for an 18-yard touchdown.
49ers 23 – Cardinals 0
Dashon Goldson got the 49ers 4th takeaway, picking off a Skelton pass.
The 49ers couldn’t move the chains on their next drive, but they got the ball back on the punt as Bowman recovered Patrick Peterson’s fumble.
Right after he fumbled the punt, Peterson was called for interference against Crabtree inside the 10.
Highlight Reel: Smith’s touchdown pass to Davis was right on the money. Davis was the only one who could have caught it and he got both feet in bounds for the score.
Standout Stat: Smith is slightly outplaying Skelton. His QB rating is 100.5 compared to Skelton’s 10.5.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have blown the game open with two touchdowns in the quarter. Gore looks like his day is done. Crabtree has played great…he already has 120 yards receiving.
Smith avoided a sack and had Crabtree in the back of the end zone. Smith didn’t see the LB Washington underneath and he made the pick.
Richard Bartel came into the game for Arizona and went three and out.
The 49ers picked up one first down thanks to a holding call against the Cardinals, but they couldn’t get passed midfield. Peterson signaled for a fair catch at the 16.
Goldson was kicked out of the game after he retaliated to Early Doucet punching him when he was on the ground. Apparently the official didn’t see Doucet’s part in the altercation. It was a big penalty because it kept Arizona’s drive alive and Bartel hit Fitzgerald for a touchdown.
49ers 23 – Cardinals 7
The Cardinals faked the onside kick and ended up kicking it deep. Ginn got back though and returned it to the 20. The Cardinals were called for a late hit which moved the ball up to the 35. That’s it for the blog as we have to go down to the field. Follow us on Twitter for final updates.
Posted in Announcements | 94 Comments »