Alex Smith was nearly flawless on Monday night, as he had three touchdown passes to lead the 49ers to a 24-3 beating of the Cardinals in an NFC West battle.
Smith had just one incompletion as he went 18-for-19 for 232 yards. He set an NFL record for the most completions with just one incompletion in a single game.
Michael Crabtree caught five passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns while Randy Moss also had a touchdown catch for the 49ers (6-2), who have won their past two and hold a two-game lead for the top spot in the NFC West.
John Skelton, making his second straight start in place of an injured Kevin Kolb, went 32-for-52 for 290 yards with an interception for the Cardinals (4-4), who have dropped four straight since opening the season with four consecutive wins.
After an exchange of punts to start the game, San Francisco went on a lengthy drive to take the lead.
Starting at their 23, the 49ers marched across midfield before a 17-yard run from Frank Gore put the ball at the Arizona 25. Following an offensive holding call, Kendall Hunter rushed for five yards and Delanie Walker caught a pass for 23 yards down to the Arizona 7-yard line.
Three plays later, Smith snapped a quick, high pass to the right where Crabtree made a leaping catch for a 3-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 1:53 to play in the first quarter.
The 49ers added to their lead in the second quarter after starting a drive near midfield. On second down at the Arizona 39, Smith was sacked for an 8- yard loss to move the ball out of field goal range. However, Crabtree followed with a 22-yard catch and although he didn’t move the chains, he did give David Akers a chance at a 43-yard field goal which he made for a 10-0 advantage with 5:58 to play in the first half.
Following another three-and-out from Arizona, San Francisco got the ball back at its own 32 with 4:27 to play before intermission. That was plenty of time for Smith to go to work as he continued his crisp passing to get the team into scoring position.
On 3rd-and-goal at the 9-yard line, he hit Crabtree near the Arizona seven and the wideout took it in to give the team a 17-0 lead going into the break.
Smith finished the first half a blistering 14-for-15 with 146 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers kept rolling in the second half, as they put more points on the board on their first touch. Starting at their own 20, a 30-yard catch-and-run from Crabtree got the ball past midfield. Three plays later, Smith hit Moss near the 40, and he made a move to get past two defenders before racing into the end zone for a 47-yard score and a 24-0 lead with 7:27 left in the third quarter.
Arizona came back with its first successful scoring drive of the game, a 14- play march that saw the team convert a fourth down, but ultimately stalled and concluded with a 28-yard field goal from Jay Feely that made it a 24-3 game with 57 seconds left in the third.
The fourth quarter saw nothing but punts, as Arizona was unable to move the ball and the 49ers went to their run game to kill as much of the clock as possible.