The 49ers crushed the Arizona Cardinals 24-3 on Monday night, sending the team and its fans into the Bye week on a very happy note. As they say in the Life Duhs Anonymous meetings, two weeks of savoring always trumps two weeks in the shit house. While the team rests for a week, its fans can spend it getting ripped on the Bay Area two sport dominance displayed so convincingly over the past three days.
Greg Roman, Vic Fangio, and Jim Harbaugh once again demonstrated how tough they are when given extra time to prepare for an opponent. The Cardinals were thoroughly beaten on both sides of the ball. What was supposed to be a defensive bar brawl was instead a one-sided wipe up the floor with a wimp night.
For the fourth time in eight games, the 49er defense did not allow a touchdown. They also did not allow the Cardinals to reach even ten whole yards in rushing. SEVEN total AZ rushing yards for the game. That is ridiculous dominance. And the exclamation point Dashon Goldson decleater hit on Early Doucet was quite enjoyable, too!
Alex Smith played a near perfect game at QB, shredding the Cardinals’ top five secondary and dealing a crushing blow to regression theorists and dime store psychiatrists across the land. On the road and in a national game, Smith tossed 3 TDS and completed 18 of 19 passes, with only a drop by Delanie Walker (who else?) denying him a perfect night. It was still enough to set an NFL record for completion percentage in a game.
He ran the WCO like days of yore, hitting 9 different receivers on short patterns and watching them gain over 100 yards after the catch, with Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss doing most of the damage. Moss straight-lined his yards, while Crabtreee herky-jerked his in, over, through, and around AZ’s superstar CB Patrick Peterson.
The pivotal play in the game came early. On the second 49er drive, after their first drive self-destructed in penalties, on a third and goal, Smith squeezed a pass to Crabtree in the near corner of the end zone over Peterson’s head. Crabtree went up and snatched it, then held on as Peterson tried to jar it loose. It was the kind of play that top WRs make all the time, but not too often in Niner land. It was also the kind of mutual confidence play between QB and WR that could pay big dividends in the future.
From that point on, there were very few anxious moments. When Smith hit Crabtree and he left Peterson on the ground with a waltz in TD for a 17-0 lead just before the half, the game was over.
This was the third severe drubbing the 49ers have laid on an opponent this year. The team is capable of greatness. If the offense keeps maturing, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t, nobody will be a tougher out in the playoffs.
The way Smith played Monday night makes one wonder if maybe that sprained finger he got at the end of the Buffalo game was a bit more troublesome than he or the coaches would admit. The Cardinals sent five rushers at him most of the night, and the offensive line held up beautifully. They truly are becoming an elite group.
Hard to believe, but we are now at the half way point in the season. The 49ers are 6-2, with a two game lead in the NFC West, and after beating St. Louis after the Bye, will own any tie breakers in the division. Up next in the second half of the season: The Quest for Greatness and a 6th Lombardi!