Alex Smith’s near-flawless effort helps 49ers rock Cardinals
Glendale, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – Alex Smith played a near-flawless game, hitting 18 of 19 passes and throwing three touchdown heaves, as the San Francisco 49ers clinched their second straight triumph with a 24-3 shellacking of the Arizona Cardinals in Monday Night Football at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Smith tallied 232 yards with two touchdown tosses to Michael Crabtree and one to veteran Randy Moss for a passer rating of 157.1 as the 49ers scored 24 straight points before the Cardinals hit a field goal in the third quarter to avoid a shutout.
“I’ve never seen that before,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said when informed of Smith’s near-perfect outing which came one pass short of setting the franchise’s single-game completion percentage record with at least 20 throws.
“I honestly had no idea, which is a good thing,” Smith said. “I’m really not worried about my stats… I’m really concerned about winning. I think the guys in the locker room know what I’m about. That’s all that really matters.”
The 49ers improved to 6-2, best in the NFC West while the Cardinals slipped to 4-4 after giving up 21 points or more in a game for the first time this season.
Crabtree finished with 72 yards on five catches while Moss tallied 47 yards from a single scoring catch that brought his Monday Night Football career total touchdowns to 18, third all-time behind Jerry Rice (34) and Terrell Owens (21).
“Both guys made a ton of plays for us,” Smith said. “Both touchdowns by Michael were great plays. Lot of yards after the catch tonight from all the guys, it was fun to see.”
San Francisco’s defense also limited the Arizona’s rushing corps to a paltry seven yards on nine carries, tying the team’s single- franchise mark set against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 1, 1972
“It’s frustrating and it’s humiliating, to be honest,” said Cardinals quarterback John Skelton, referring to his team’s three-point output.
Skelton, who was sacked four times, completed 32 of 52 throws for 290 yards without a touchdown and an interception for a rating of 68.6.
Smith engineered a 10-play, 77-yard drive that led to a three-yard touchdown catch by Crabtree in the first period.
The 49ers made it 17-0 at halftime behind Smith’s second touchdown pass to Crabtree and a 43-yard field goal from David Akers.
Moss joined the fray in the third quarter when he caught Smith’s 47-yard pass for a touchdown that gave the 49ers a 24-0 advantage before Jay Feely buried a 28-yard field goal for the Cardinals.