In a chippy game that the 49ers couldn’t afford to lose if they wanted to keep any postseason hopes alive, they capitalized on seven Arizona turnovers in a 24-9 win. With the victory, San Francisco pulled off a sweep of the NFC West-leading Cardinals.
Two first quarter Cardinals fumbles lead to the game’s initial 10 points. After Tim Hightower coughed up the ball on the Arizona eight after getting blasted by Dashon Goldson, Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis for a 5-yard touchdown. On the next Arizona series, LaRod Stephens-Howling’s fumble after the catch, set up a Joe Nedney connection on a 37-yard field goal. Goldson then intercepted Kurt Warner to start the second quarter in what was Warner’s first pick in 130 passing attempts.
Warner was intercepted again in the second by Tarell Brown, which lead to a 35-yard Smith to Michael Crabtree touchdown pass giving the 49ers a 17-0 lead at the half. The Cardinals nightmare first half ended in a fifth turnover as Warner fumbled with seconds remaining on the clock.
Arizona’s Neil Rackers just cleared the cross bar on a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter to cut the Niners lead to two touchdowns. On the next 49ers possession, Smith was picked by Adrian Wilson setting up the Cardinals for their first touchdown of the night. Beanie Wells dove-in from a yard out on a fourth and goal play, but the PAT was blocked leaving Arizona trailing by eight points at 14:03 in the fourth.
Wells fumbled on the Cardinals next offensive series -- their sixth turnover of the night, recovered by Parys Haralson at 11:35 in the fourth -- which set up the 49ers on the Arizona 16. Four plays later -- all Frank Gore runs -- Gore plowed-in for a two-yard touchdown carrying the Niners to the decisive 24-9 advantage.
The Niners play the Eagles in Philadelphia next Sunday.