GLENDALE, AZ - It was a battle for number one in the NFC West Monday night between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, the 49ers had a lot more muscle and simply dominated Arizona at their home stadium.
With three losses in a row, the Cardinals had a chance to put an end to the losing streak and move into first place in the West, but they ran into a much more powerful team than even they imagined. The Cardinals got eaten up, spit out and thrown by the roadside by the much stronger and more powerful 49ers.
Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Adrian Wilson and Patrick Petersen were all tended to by team doctors at one point or another during Monday night's game, and even without the injuries, this game was never close.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith set an NFL record completing 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, while two of his TD passes went to Michael Crabtree and one to the old man, Randy Moss. With the win, San Francisco opens a two game lead in the division and leaves Arizona with its fourth straight loss.
The 49ers got on the board first when Smith hit Crabtree for the first touchdown of the game, a three yard pass on third and goal in the first quarter. With the 49ers up 10-nothing, Smith caps an 8-play drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree and the 49ers are up 17-0 at halftime.
On the Niners' first drive of the second half, Smith hits Randy Moss for a 47 yard touchdown and San Francisco is up 24-nothing. Jay Feely hits a 28 yard field goal late in the third quarter and it's 24-3 heading into the fourth.
With less than a minute to play, on fourth and goal from the 7, John Skelton hits Larry Fitzgerald, but Fitz can't get across the goal line and the Forty-Niners win it 24-3.
Smith's only incompletion of the night was dropped by a wide-open receiver.
With Moss' 47 yard touchdown reception, he tied Terrell Owens for fourth on the NFL career touchdown list with 156.
Alex Smith completed 18 of 19 passes, setting the NFL record for highest completion percentage in a game by a quarterback with a minimum of 15 attempts.
Arizona's defense missed tackle after tackle in an embarrassing loss at home. The 24 points were the most allowed by the Cardinals this season.
In fact, the Cardinals were booed off the field by their home crowd at halftime.
Making his second start since Kevin Kolb went down with an injury, John Skelton completed 32 of 52 passes for 290 yards, although he was just 7 of 15 for 72 yards at halftime.
In fact, the halftime statistics pretty much tell the story of the game, the Cardinals had just 22 first half plays, and managed just 78 yards of offense against the much tougher 49ers defense. The Cardinals finished the first half with 6 yards rushing and a total of 72 yards.
When the game was over, the Cardinals managed just 7 yards rushing on 9 attempts. So the Cardinals start the season with four straight wins and then lose four straight to fall to 4-4 on the season.
They travel to Green Bay next Sunday and then travel to Atlanta on November 18 after their bye week.
Alex Smith: 18 of 19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns
John Skelton: 32 of 52 for 290 yards, no touchdowns and one interception
Frank Gore: 16 carries, 55 yards
LaRod Stephens-Howling: 8 carries for 6 yards
Michael Crabtree: 5 Catches, 72 yards, 2 touchdowns
Randy Moss, 1 catch, 47 yards, 1 touchdown
Andre Roberts, 7 catches, 65 yards
Larry Fitzgerald, 5 catches, 52 yards
San Francisco – 317
Arizona – 265