The 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 24-3, and played one of their best all-around games of the season, and in the process they did a good job of answering the 5 questions I brought up prior to the game. Let's take a look at those answers
1) Will Greg Roman get Vernon Davis more involved?
- Davis was targeted on 2 of Alex Smith's 19 pass attempts, but there were a couple of occasions where he was either the primary or secondary target and Smith did a good job to check down. One such play was on a drive in the second quarter, when after a play fake Smith looked deep to Moss on a post and Davis on a corner, both were well covered and he checked down to Kendall Hunter for a completion and first down. Davis was able to haul in both of the passes that he was targeted on to finish the night with 34 yards receiving.
2) Can Alex Smith get back on track?
- After 2 sub par outings, Smith put on a performance that should remind 49ers fans of a QB who once wore #16. He completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and 3 TD's. In fact his only incompletion was on a ball dropped by Delanie Walker. Smith did an excellent job of spreading the ball around as he completed passes to 9 different receivers. Much maligned for his lack of success on 3rd down, Smith at one point late in the 4th quarter was 6-6 on 3rd down for over 100 yards and a TD, further adding to his brilliant night.
3) Can the defense take advantage of the Cardinals offensive line?
- The 49ers defensive line took a little time getting going, but they ended the night with 4 sacks of John Skelton. Aldon Smith led the way with 2 sacks on the night, and was joined by Ahmad Brooks and Navarro Bowman who each had a sack. Justin Smith also was able to put consistent pressure on Skelton, driving him into the turf on a couple of occasions just after the ball had left his hands.
4) Will the running game keep going against the Arizona D?
- Although they were held well below their season average, the 49ers running game did a very nice job early on with some good gains. They ended the night with 29 carries for 113 yards. Frank Gore led the way with 16 carries for 55 yards, and Kendall Hunter added another 43 yards on 10 carries.
5) How will Michael Crabtree fare against Patrick Peterson?
- Michael Crabtree dominated Patrick Peterson, ending the night with 5 catches for 72 yards and 2 TD's. This was only the 2nd multi-receiving TD game of Crabtree's career, and the first in which both came from a QB. Crabtree showed that maybe Jim Harbaugh wasn't completely crazy for saying he has the best hands he's ever seen with his leaping grap over the top of Peterson's head for the first TD of the game. He was a YAC machine tonight as he also set up a David Akers FG in the 2nd quarter with a nice 22 yard catch and run on 3rd and 23. He then put the 49ers up 17-0 at the half with a 9 yard catch and run for a TD right before halftime.