49ers receivers run wild in division win over Cardinals
Three touchdown passes, one incomplete pass. Not a bad night for Alex Smith and it could have been better, considering that the one incomplete pass was dropped by a wideopen receiver.
The San Francisco quarterback completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns two to Michael Crabtree and one to Randy Moss to help San Francisco flatten the Arizona Cardinals 243 on Monday night.
"But at the end of the day, it wasn't like he had to make the long perfect throws. He had some guys open and we missed some tackles and they made plays."
Smith said he had no idea his stats were that good.
"Which is a good thing," he said. "I don't want to think about my stats or incompletions or anything like that.
"I was, kind of, in a good rhythm. The whole offence was."
Smith has withstood more than his share of criticism he was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in 2005. He was not interested in calling this a statement performance.
"At this point, I don't care," he said. "If you ask me a few years ago, yeah, maybe.
"But at this point, I don't really care. I am concerned about winning.
"The guys in the locker room know what I am about and that is what really matters."
As for reports he had lost his confidence, Smith said: "It was in my closet I found it!"
Smith was 14 of 15 for 146 yards and two touchdowns both to Crabtree as the 49ers built a 170 halftime lead.
Moss caught a 47yard TD pass, dodging tacklers down the sideline on a play that seemed to turn back the clock to the receiver's prime. With the catch, he tied Terrell Owens for fourth on the NFL career touchdown list with 156.
Smith, who tied a career high with the three TD passes, spread out his completions to 10 receivers. Crabtree led the way with five catches for 72 yards.
Arizona's defence, supposed to be the team's strength, missed tackle after tackle in an embarrassing nationally televised performance at home. The 24 points were the most allowed by the Cardinals this season.
"This was a big test for us and everyone saw how it went," Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It was disappointing, to say the least."
Cardinals quarterback John Skelton called the loss "embarrassing" and "humiliating."
Led by Smith's nearperfect precision passing, the 49ers methodically dominated from the start. He had the best completion percentage of his career and he would have been perfect had Delanie Walker not dropped the ball when he was wide open on a crossing route in the first half.
A 10play, 77yard drive that consumed just over 6 minutes of the first quarter put San Francisco up 70. On thirdandgoal from the 3, Smith threw a sidelines pass to Crabtree, who outfought Patrick Peterson for the ball and the touchdown.
A flurry missed tackles, most notably an openfield whiff by Sam Acho, helped Ted Ginn Jr. return a punt 35 yards to the Arizona 45 in the second quarter. Daryl Washington sacked Smith to help set up a thirdand23 from the Arizona 46. But Smith found Crabtree over the middle for 22 yards, just a yard shy of the first down. David Akers' 43 yard field goal made it 100 with 5:58 left in the half.
Crabtree beat Peterson again for San Francisco's second touchdown. Smith threw over the middle to the receiver, who caught the ball, then fooled Peterson with an inside move into the end zone to make it 170 with 1:41 left in the half. The 49ers drove 68 yards in eight plays, again overcoming a sack, this one by Calais Campbell, that made it secondandgoal from the 16. Smith threw 7 yards to Mario Manningham to set up the TD toss to Crabtree.
The Cardinals were booed off the field by the home crowd at the half.
Things didn't get any better for the home team in the third quarter. On thirdand9, Smith threw 30 yards to Crabtree, who evaded a host of tacklers. Then on thirdand8, Smith tossed a short pass to Moss, who sidestepped a series of wouldbe defenders all the way to the end zone, putting San Francisco ahead 240 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals averted a shutout with Jay Feely's 28yard field goal
Skelton, making his second start since Kevin Kolb went down with rib injuries, completed 32 of 52 passes for 290 yards, often overthrowing receivers. The Cardinals rushed for just 7 yards in nine attempts against the 49ers, who entered the game as the No. 1ranked defense in the NFL, No. 2 against the run.
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