It took them twelve weeks, but the Niners played every bit like the team that we thought they would be coming into the season. In their nationally televised Monday Night Football Matchup, the visiting Niners embarrassed the Arizona Cardinals, winning the game by 21 points.
This was a game that the Niners had from the beginning. While they did not score on their opening drive, a turnover by the Cards offense allowed them to open up the scoring and take a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. The TD came on a beautiful 38-yard play-action pass from Troy Smith to Michael Crabtree.
The TD pass to Crabtree was Smith’s only TD pass of the night. He had 129 yards, connecting on 11 of his 23 pass attempts.
The surprise of the evening was the Niners running game. Frank Gore was phenomenal in the opening drive, gaining 52 yards on 5 carries. He would however not play for the rest of the game due to an undisclosed injury. No problem. Little used Brian Westbrook had a monster game. He had 136 rushing yards on 23 carries and a TD. Moreover, rookie RB Anthony Dixon did his part; he finished the night with 54 yards and a TD.
The defense never allowed the Cards offense to get anything going. The Cardinals could not sustain any drives and twice settled for field goals. While the D only recorded one sack, Cards QB Derek Anderson never got into a rhythm. Takeo Spikes recorded an interception in the third quarter and that seemed to take any life out of the Cards.
When it comes to Special Teams, Ted Ginn was hard at his craft. He gave the Niners great field position throughout the night, especially so in the first half.
I was a bit peeved at Shane Andrus missing two field goals. The first missed FG was wide right, from 47 yards. The second missed FG was from 37 yards out but it was blocked by the Cards’ D.
Now that the Niners have won this game, they now have to focus on the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are sitting at 7-4, but they are currently out of the playoff picture. The Niners need to enjoy this win tonight, and focus on the Packers as early as tomorrow.