San Francisco 49ers: Smith, Niners Man-Handle Cardinals, 24-3

The San Francisco 49ers continues to show that they are not only a dominance team in the NFL, but in their division as they man-handled the Arizona Cardinals Monday night, 24-3.

49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith was one pass short of being perfect on the evening as he finished 18 out of 19 attempts for 232 yards and three touchdowns with a QB rating of 157.1.


Alex Smith/Google Images

Alex Smith/Google Images

”Eighteen of 19, I have never seen that,” said 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh. ”How important for your quarterback to play very well? It is very important and I don’t know how you play much better. It was a fantastic game by him.’”

Smith orchestrated a solid performance as his ball placement was on the money in protecting his receivers from receiving furious hits and targeted them in stride for huge gains after the pass.

The Niners’ running game was a major factor in the victory as they kept the Cardinals’ defense honest enough for favorable matchups in the pass game. 49ers’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree led the way for the team’s pass core with five grabs for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

At the age of 35, 49ers’ wide receiver Randy Moss attracted many double teams. When Moss was near a receiver, he would run out to draw his double teams away to help create winnable one-on-one matchups for his teammates. As a result, Smith was able to connect with eight other different receivers.


Randy Moss/Google Images

Randy Moss/Google Images

However, Moss was able to create for his own as he caught a pass towards the sideline, spun off a defender and turned up the field, blowing pass everyone, for a 47-yard touchdown.

As the offense handled their business, the 49ers’ defense finished the rest as pounded the Cardinals (4-4) throughout the evening. Cardinals’ quarterback John Skelton may have posted 290 yards in the air off 32 for 52 passing, about 200 yards coming in the second half, the Niners held Arizona to seven total rushing yards for the game.

Just a complete game from a complete team.

                                                      Game Notes

– The 49ers improved to 7-1 in NFC West divisional games under Harbaugh and 2-0 against the NFC West this season. The seven divisional wins are t-2nd most in the NFL since 2011.


Jim Haubaugh/Google Images

Jim Haubaugh/Google Images

– San Francisco improved its overall record against the Cardinals to 25-17, and 11-9 on the road.

– The 49ers have won at least six of their first eight games for the second consecutive season (7-1 in 2011), the first time the team has done so in back-to-back seasons since 2001-02. (6-2 in 2001 and 2002).

– The Niners improved their prime time record to 63-32 overall and to 25-17 on the road.

– The 49ers improved to 12-3 under Harbaugh when scoring first.

– The 49ers improved to 42-25 on Monday Night Football, including 19-14 on the road – second most to the Dallas Cowboys’ 43 Monday Night victories.

– San Francisco improved to 5-1 against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football, including going 4-1 against Arizona on MNF since 2007.

– Coupled with last week’s 13-6 win against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football (10/18), the 49ers have won back-to-back prime time games for the first time since Oct. 2001.

-The 49ers have gone 16-4 against the NFC West since 2009. The 16 wins are tied for the most divisional wins in the NFL during that span. (New England 16-4).


Alex Smith/Google Images

Alex Smith/Google Images

– Smith tied his career high with three touchdown passes. This marks the eighth career three touchdown game performance for Smith, with the last coming vs. the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 7.

Smith is 19-5 as a starter since the beginning of the 2011 season. The 19 wins are tied for the most in the NFL during that span.

– Crabtree’s last two touchdown game came against the Rams in St. Louis last season.

– Crabtree has now played in 50 regular season games and has registered at least one reception in every game of his career.


Google Images

Google Images

– Moss has now registered 18 touchdowns in 19 games on Monday Night Football.

– Moss now ranks tied for fourth in NFL history with 156 total touchdowns.

– The 49ers improved to 18-0 under head coach Jim Harbaugh when running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter combine for 20 carries or more.

– Gore led the way with 55 yards rushing on 16 carries, while Hunter added 43 yards on 10 carries.

– The 49ers’ defense held Arizona to just seven yards rushing, tying the fewest rushing yards the 49ers have allowed in a single game in franchise history (against the New Orleans Saints in 1972).


Google Images

Google Images

– The seven rushing yards allowed is the lowest output allowed in the NFL this season, surpassing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who held the Carolina Panthers to 10 rushing yards on Sept. 9.

– The 49ers’ defense did not allow a touchdown for the 4th time this season, limiting the Cardinals to only 3 points. This is the sixth time in franchise history that San Francisco has held its opponents out of the end zone in 4 games in a single season (2011 (4), 2009 (5), 2001 (4), 1984 (4), 1971 (4)).

– The 49ers have given up just 9 touchdowns this season, tied for the fewest in the NFL.


Google Images

Google Images

– With 2.0 sacks on the day, linebacker Aldon Smith now has 21.5 career sacks. Smith reached 20.0 career sacks in just 24 games, becoming the second fastest in 49ers’ history, behind Hall of Famer Fred Dean who reached 20.0 sacks in 23 games from 1982-83.

– Defensive tackle Justin Smith has now started 179 consecutive games, dating back to his rookie season in 2001. Smith’s consecutive start streak ranks 3rd among defensive players, behind cornerback Ronde Barber of the Buccaneers (206) and linebacker London Fletcher of the Washington Redskins (187), and fourth among all NFL players, behind Barber, Fletcher and Jeff Backus (183).


Google Images

Google Images

– Tight end Vernon Davis has now started 83 consecutive games, which ranks third in the NFL among tight end behind Tony Gonzalez (93) and Jason Witten (90).

– Center Jonathan Goodwin has now started 62 consecutive games, the fifth most among centers.

– Kicker David Akers has now played in 113 consecutive NFL games, the third most in the NFL among kickers.

– Punter Andy Lee played has played in 136 consecutive NFL games, tied second most among NFL punters.

– The 49ers’ defense registered 4.0 sacks on the Cardinals.

– Linebacker Aldon Smith brought down Skelton twice in the fourth quarter, giving him 7.5 sacks on the season and 21.5 for his career.


Google Images

Google Images

– Linebacker Ahmad Brooks tallied his fourth sack of the season and 24th of his career, taking down Skelton in the fourth quarter.

– Linebacker NaVorro Bowman sacked Skelton late in the second quarter, giving him 2.0 sacks for the season and 4.0 for his career.

– Bowman’s 2.0 sacks on the season ties his career-high (2.0 in 2011).

– Cornerback Chris Culliver notched his second interception of the season, and third of his career, picking off Skelton as the first half ended.

– Culliver and teammate cornerback Tarell Brown each registered five pass defenses, setting a new career high for both of them. According to the NFL Gamebook statistics, the five pass defenses by Culliver and Brown are tied for the most in the NFL this season, along with Denver Broncos’ cornerback Tracy Porter’s five pass defenses against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12.


Google Images

Google Images

– With one field goal, kicker David Akers has now made at least one field goal in all 24 games as a 49er, extending the franchise record with most consecutive games with a field goal.

– Tight end/long snapper Brian Jennings has now played in 200 consecutive games.

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