The 49ers look to extend their lead in the NFC West with a win against the Arizona Cardinals. The game is at University of Phoenix Stadium, however, which is always a tough place to play I can tell you from experience, that place can get very loud and hostile. This should be a tough, physical and close game. It's Monday Night Football at its best.
The 49ers receive and Ted Ginn Jr. takes it to the 25 yard line. Frank Gore gets the first play of the game on a carry for six yards. He picked up about three yards falling down. Classic Gore. On the second play of the game, Mario Manningham makes a catch for a first down. Manningham missed the Seahawks game last week. Gore is running with authority, as he breaks through a tackle for another first down. A facemask penalty by Alex Boone erases what would have been a first down by Kendall Hunter. The 49ers now face a second and 14. Alex Smith tried to audible at the line but the 49ers could not get the play off in time, and are forced to burn an early timeout. Still second and 14. As mentioned earlier, this stadium is very loud. Bad play call by the 49ers, as they run a quick screen to Manningham. The Cardinals saw it coming a mile away. Following that three yard loss, the 49ers take a delay of game. They now face a third and 22. Most likely the next play will be a draw followed by a punt. And predictable as this offense is, the 49ers run a draw to Gore and Lee is now on to punt.
Patrick Peterson, the dangerous returner/cornerback for the Cardinals, fields the punt with not much of a return. However, C.J. Spillman of the 49ers picks up a personal foul for continuously running down the sideline out of bounds. The 49ers need to play disciplined football.
The first Cardinals play is a screen pass to speedy LaRod Stephens-Howling. Very Darren Sproles-like. He'll keep the 49ers defense busy all day. Worth noting is that former 49ers guard Adam Snyder is not active today for the Cardinals. He won't get to face his old team tonight and help the poor Cardinals pass blocking. After the screen reception by "The Hyphen", the Cardinals are forced to punt. Ginn is brought down immediately, and there's another penalty on a punt return. Quentin Groves of the Cardinals is called for holding, and the penalty will be enforced from the spot of the tackle.
The 49ers take over at the 23 yard line, and Gore takes it for a gain of five. The following play is a reception by Manningham on the sideline for a first down. After some good gains by Hunter, Gore pounds it through the middle and delivers a mean stiff arm to a Cardinal defender for another first down. The 49ers are now in the redzone as Smith delivers a beautiful pass to Delanie Walker. Ball on the seven yard line. The Cardinals then stop Gore behind the line for a loss of three. Second and goal, the 49ers take it down to the three yard line. Smith then delivers a great throw to Crabtree for the touchdown. Crabtree beat the hyped Peterson. 49ers 7, Cardinals 0
The Cardinals take over with just under two minutes left in the quarter. Skelton throws an incomplete pass and then they try to involve Peterson on offense, but Ahmad Brooks sniffs out the play and tackles Peterson. On third and 17 following a false start, Fitzgerald drops a pass but is shaken up on the play. He walked off on his own power though.
The 49ers will start the second quarter after a Gore run which wound the clock down. On third and seven, Smith finds Arizona native Kyle Williams, but short of a first down. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is being tested on the sideline for a concussion. Return is questionable. After gaining a first down, Skelton took the biggest shot of the game thus far. Justin Smith drove him into the ground hard after releasing the pass. Another trivial note, Skelton and Cardinals tight end Rob Housler were both born in El Paso, Texas in the same hospital on the same day.
The 49ers get a good punt return from Ginn, taking the ball beyond midfield. The drive stalls a bit, but the 49ers are able to get a David Akers field goal. 49ers 10, Cardinals 0
The Cardinals have -4 rushing yards. While it's a negative sign and not a hyphen, it's funny that "The Hyphen" is in the minus.
The Manningham sideline pass is quickly becoming a staple of the 49ers offense. Walker makes another big play, coming up with a catch of a tipped pass and keeping his feet in bounds. Smith looks efficient in this half. Crabtree beats Peterson again and takes a quick flat route for a score on third and goal. 49ers 17, Cardinals 0
Smith is now 14 of 15 for 146 yards and two touchdowns; proving all of those who call him a game-manager wrong.
*** NOTE: Slight technical difficulties before halftime. We'll try to work through them to for the second half.***
The Cardinals will start the second half. Larry Fitzgerald looks okay, and will remain in the game.
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