The came, they saw, they conquered. In a game that was supposed to be a hard-fought defensive struggle instead turned into a cakewalk for the offense and a pretty strong beat-down by the 49ers resurgent defense. Alex Smith picked apart a supposedly stout AZ pass defense to the tune of 18-19 passing, 232 yards, and 3 TDs and a near-perfect QBR of 157.1. Gone were the hesitant throws and floating ducks. In their place were accurate pinpoint passes, and a lot of yards after the catch. Defensively, the 49ers pitched a TD shutout for the 4th time in 8 games. Larry Fitzgerald (5-52) was kept in check, and AZ’s anemic run game was held to 7 yards. A woeful 32 inches per carry.
Smith spread the ball around to 9 different recievers. The most effective being Michael Crabtree. His numbers weren’t huge (5-72, 2 TDs), but the throw to the end zone on 3rd and 6 was one that looked like an actual play where they trusted each other to do what was designed. On the play, Patrick Peterson’s back was to Crabs, so Smith threw the pass up high where Crabs could go after it, but also be above Peterson. Crabs grabbed it and fought to keep is as Peterson tried to wrestle is from his grasp. Crabs won out. Touchdown. it’s the kind of play that a good WR makes, and a good QB throws. By the time Crabs scored his 2nd TD to close out the 1st half, Peterson was baffled as to how he should cover Crabs. The TD to Moss was even better. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Smith dropped back to pass. His 1st and 2nd reads were left and middle. He came back to Moss as the 3rd read on the left side for a 10 yard out that Moss dodged and dashed his way to a 47 yard TD. 24-0, and for all intents and purposes the game was over.
Defensively, the Niners stuffed the run and dared AZ to pass, and they were shut down at every turn. Skelton threw for 290 yards, but this was on 52 attempts for an anemic 5.6 yards per attempt. Smith on the other hand was a stellar 12.2 YPA. Culliver got a gift pick on the hail Mary to close the 1st half, and Early Doucett got an early nap when Goldson laid the heavy wood on his protagonist from last year, and knocked him to the sidelines. Skelton was pressured and knocked down all game, and the D line came up with 4 sacks: 2 by Aldon Smith, and one each by Brooks and Bowman.
All in all, a return to form. At least NFC West style. The drag is we have another 2 week break as we hit the bye next weekend. All in all, though, the Niners did what they needed to in this first half of the season. They won all their division games, beat a quality team on the road in Green Bay, and are up 2 games in their division. Ho hum.