49ers land knockout on Arizona; earn eighth straight win 23-7

A knockout punch, or two, possibly three, if you’re Dashon Goldson.

Alex Smith threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns and the 49ers defense forced five turnovers, as they smashed the Cardinals 23-7 on Sunday.

It has been a long time coming for Smith, who feels he still could have played better in the convincing win at Candlestick.

“You chase perfection like that, you’re never going to be perfect but it doesn’t change your mindset,” said Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick out of Utah. “It’s certainly not like we’re making all the plays out there, and today was evidence of that. We left a lot out there.”

Despite the talk for improvement, Smith tossed scores to Kyle Williams and Vernon Davis on the first two drives of the third quarter to help the 49ers pull away for their eighth straight victory.

San Francisco (9-1) could wrap up the NFC West division with a win at Baltimore on Thanksgiving and a loss by Seattle against Washington next weekend.

Crabtree: Michael Crabtree went over the century mark (120 yards, seven catches) for the first time this season.  It was his third career 100-yard receiving game.

The Rook: Aldon Smith recorded another sack, giving him seven and a half for his rookie campaign.

Clock Control: The 49ers held the ball for 44:16, compared to Arizona, who had the rock for just 15:44.  The Cards were only 1-9 on third downs.

Secondary Strength: Donte Whitner recovered a fumble and had an interception.  Goldson also produced a pick, however, he was later ejected for fighting with Early Doucet.  The aggressive safety landed a good, two-to-three solid punches on Doucet.

Next: Thanksgiving, Thursday November 24 at Baltimore Ravens, 5:20 PT.

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