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49ers 24, Cardinals 3

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On an almost perfect Monday night for Alex Smith, the 49ers flexed their NFC West dominance with a 24-3 flattening of the Cardinals.

Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns — two to Michael Crabtree and one to Randy Moss — to help San Francisco open a two-game lead in the division and send Arizona to its fourth straight loss after a 4-0 start.

Smith's only incompletion was dropped by an open receiver.

Smith was 14 of 15 for 146 yards and two touchdowns, both to Crabtree, as the 49ers built a 17-0 halftime lead. In the third quarter Moss caught a 47-yard TD, dodging tacklers down the sideline on a play that seemed to turn back the clock to the receiver's prime. He tied Terrell Owens for fourth on the NFL career touchdown list with his 156th.

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, which is supposed to be the team's strength, missed tackle after tackle in an embarrassing nationally televised performance at home. The Cardinals allowed their most points this season.

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

The Cardinals averted a shutout with former Tampa Jesuit kicker Jay Feely's 28-yard field goal. They were stuffed on their final drive just short of the goal line in the final minute.

John Skelton, making his second start since Kevin Kolb went down with rib injuries, completed 32 of 52 passes for 290 yards. The Cardinals rushed for just 7 yards in nine attempts; the 49ers ran for 113 yards.

49ers 24, Cardinals 3 10/29/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 10:14am]
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