Cardinals fall to 49ers, 24-9

NFL Notes

December 15, 2009|By From Sun news services

The Arizona Cardinals threw away a chance to clinch a second straight NFC West crown.

Alex Smith threw touchdown passes after two of Arizona's seven turnovers, Frank Gore ran for 167 yards and an additional score and the San Francisco 49ers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a dominant 24-9 victory Monday night.

With a relentless defensive attack, San Francisco (6-7) kept Kurt Warner from finding a groove. Warner threw two interceptions in the opening half after going 130 passes without a pick. Arizona (8-5) can still clinch the division by winning two of its final three games.

Gore had his most productive game since Week 2, running over a Cardinals defense that held Adrian Peterson to 19 yards in a win against the Minnesota Vikings last week. Smith, coming off a loss at Seattle last week in which he threw for a career-high 310 yards, connected on touchdown passes to Vernon Davis (Maryland) and Michael Crabtree and finished 19-for-35 for 144 yards.

The Cardinals had their second game of the season with six or more turnovers, much to the delight of the sellout crowd at Candlestick Park. The 49ers had a franchise-record five forced fumbles, two by safety Dashon Goldson.

Davis caught his 11th touchdown pass of the season, extending his franchise-record mark by a tight end. Crabtree's second career touchdown reception was a 35-yard catch 52 seconds before halftime. Joe Nedney added a 37-yard field goal.

Off the field
Vince Young has had a variety of tests on his right hamstring, and coach Jeff Fisher calls it a mild strain that will keep the Tennessee Titans' quarterback day-to-day.

Fisher said Monday that he has not ruled Young out for Sunday's game with the Miami Dolphins (7-6) and hopes to have the quarterback on the practice field Wednesday for Tennessee (6-7).

Young pulled up at the end of a 44-yard run, the longest of his career, during Sunday's 47-7 win over the St. Louis Rams. The quarterback, who has played well since replacing Kerry Collins as the starter in midseason, said after the win that he definitely could have returned for a playoff-type game.

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