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10/30/2012 1:14 AM EDT
Smith almost perfect, 49ers flatten Arizona 24-3
SAN FRANCISCO 24, ARIZONA 3

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Three touchdown passes, one incomplete
pass.



Not a bad night for Alex Smith, and it could have been better,
considering that the one incomplete pass was dropped by a
wide-open receiver.



The San Francisco quarterback completed 18 of 19 passes for 232
yards and three touchdowns - two to Michael Crabtree and one to
Randy Moss - to help San Francisco flatten the Arizona Cardinals
24-3 on Monday night.



"Eighteen of 19, I have never seen that," 49ers coach Jim
Harbaugh said. "How important for your quarterback to play very
well? It is very important and I don't know how you play much
better. It was a fantastic game by him."



Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett could hardly believe
what Smith had done.



"Everyone's surprised. My 5-year-old son's surprised," Dockett
said, "but at the end of the day it wasn't like he had to make
the long perfect throws. He had some guys open and we missed
some tackles and they made plays."



Smith said he had no idea his stats were that good.



"Which is a good thing," he said. "I don't want to think about
my stats or incompletions or anything like that. I was kind of
in a good rhythm, the whole offense was. `'



Smith has withstood more than his share of criticism he was the
No. 1 overall pick in the draft in 2005. He was not interested
in calling this a statement performance.



"At this point I don't care," he said. "if you ask me a few
years ago, yeah maybe, but at this point I don't really care. I
am concerned about winning. The guys in the locker room know
what I am about and that is what really matters."



As for reports he had lost his confidence, Smith said, "It was
in my closet. I found it."



Smith was 14 of 15 for 146 yards and two touchdowns, both to
Crabtree, as the 49ers built a 17-0 halftime lead.



Moss caught a 47-yard TD pass, dodging tacklers down the
sideline on a play that seemed to turn back the clock to the
receiver's prime. With the catch, he tied Terrell Owens for
fourth on the NFL career touchdown list with 156.



Smith, who tied a career high with the three touchdown passes,
spread out his completions to 10 receivers. Crabtree led the way
with five catches for 72 yards.



Arizona's defense, supposed to be the team's strength, missed
tackle after tackle in an embarrassing nationally televised
performance at home. The 24 points were the most allowed by the
Cardinals this season.



"This was a big test for us, and everyone saw how it went,"
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It was disappointing to say
the least."



Quarterback John Skelton called the loss "embarrassing" and
"humiliating."



Led by Smith's near-perfect precision passing, the 49ers
methodically dominated from the start. He had the best
completion percentage of his career, and he would have been
perfect had Delanie Walker not dropped the ball when he was wide
open on a crossing route in the first half.



A 10-play, 77-yard drive that consumed just over 6 minutes of
the first quarter put San Francisco up 7-0. On third-and-goal
from the 3, Smith threw a sidelines pass to Crabtree, who
outfought Patrick Peterson for the ball and the touchdown.



A flurry missed tackles, most notably an open-field whiff by Sam
Acho, helped Ted Ginn Jr. return a punt 35 yards to the Arizona
45 in the second quarter. Daryl Washington sacked Smith to help
set up a third-and-23 from the Arizona 46. But Smith found
Crabtree over the middle for 22 yards, just a yard shy of the
first down. David Akers' 43 yard field goal made it 10-0 with
5:58 left in the half.



Crabtree beat Peterson again for San Francisco's second
touchdown. Smith threw over the middle to the receiver, who
caught the ball, then fooled Peterson with an inside move into
the end zone to make it 17-0 with 1:41 left in the half. The
49ers drove 68 yards in eight plays, again overcoming a sack,
this one by Calais Campbell, that made it second-and-goal from
the 16. Smith threw 7 yards to Mario Manningham to set up the TD
toss to Crabtree.



The Cardinals were booed off the field by the home crowd at the
half.



Things didn't get any better for the home team in the third
quarter. On third-and-9, Smith threw 30 yards to Crabtree, who
evaded a host of tacklers. Then on third-and-8, Smith tossed a
short pass to Moss, who sidestepped a series of would-be
defenders all the way to the end zone, putting San Francisco
ahead 24-0 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.



The Cardinals averted a shutout with Jay Feely's 28-yard field
goal



John Skelton, making his second start since Kevin Kolb went down
with rib injuries, completed 32 of 52 passes for 290 yards,
often overthrowing receivers. The Cardinals rushed for just 7
yards in nine attempts against the 49ers, who entered the game
as the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL, No. 2 against the run.



Arizona's final possession ended when Larry Fitzgerald was
stopped at the 1.



Notes: The roof was open at University of Phoenix Stadium, a
rarity for Cardinals games. ... San Francisco C Daniel Kilgore
left the game in the first quarter with a concussion. ...
Washington had two sacks, giving him eight for the season. ...
In its two nationally televised night appearances this season,
against St. Louis on a Thursday and San Francisco on Monday,
Arizona was outscored 41-6. ... The 49ers improved to 3-1 on the
road, winning their last two away from home by a combined 55-3.
... Only Jerry Rice (208), Emmitt Smith (175) and LaDainian
Tomlinson (162) have more touchdowns than Moss. ... Justin
Smith had two of San Francisco's four sacks. ... The 49ers have
a bye this week. The Cardinals are at Green Bay on Sunday.



---



Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---



Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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