Found October 30, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. There was a cute little storyline making the NFL rounds the past few weeks. The much picked-upon, oft-mocked NFC West had grown a hard-hitting, defensive identity, with four teams ranked among the leagues top nine in total defense heading into the eighth week of the season.
Leave it to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh to toss a wet blanket on that hype.
I dont know if thats the perception, Harbaugh said dispassionately when asked about the divisions new calling card. No bold statement to make about it.
The 49ers had no need for bold statements following Monday nights 24-3 domination of the free-falling Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Their play said plenty. In two games against NFC West opponents Seattle and Arizona, San Francisco hasnt allowed a touchdown and has only surrendered nine points.
So lets be blunt here: Its not about the NFC West for the 49ers. They are so clearly the best team in this division that its an insult to suggest any other club will contend for this title.
The way this defense is playing, the way Frank Gore is digging tunnels in the turf with his low running style, the way that management has finally assembled a full complement of capable receivers, and the way quarterback Alex Smith has managed the offense while playing in the same offensive system for the first time in consecutive years -- its about so much more.
Were pointing to something much bigger, 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. We have a goal and we all think about winning a championship, but we cant lose focus of what we have to do each and every week.
San Franciscos offense was remarkably balanced, efficient and physical against the Cardinals, grinding out 317 yards (113 rushing) against what was supposed to be one of the league elite defensive units. The only time the 49ers misfired was due to their own penalties or mistakes, and the only reason the 49ers stats werent more impressive is because they dialed it back after taking a 24-0 lead early in the third quarter -- after pounding Arizona for 226 yards in the first half.
I was kind of in a good rhythm, Smith said. The whole offense was.
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers defense flat-out embarrassed the Cardinals offense. This wasnt domination. This was two teams playing in different leagues. Arizona had one play for positive yardage in the first quarter, seven rushing yards in the game and 69 total yards at the half behind its patchwork offensive line, its backup running backs and its skill-deficient quarterback, John Skelton.
Arizona ran the ball just nine times in the game before abandoning that tactic in a vain attempt to cut into San Franciscos ever-widening lead.
That was a big test for us tonight, and everyone saw how it went, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. We have a lot of things we need to work on and fix.
There are still eight games remaining for San Francisco, and at least four opponents more worthy than Mondays. There are also those who still doubt Smiths ability to lead this club to the ultimate prize, despite a 93.9 quarterback rating, which ranked seventh in the NFL, a 66.8 completion percentage, which ranked fourth, and an average gain per pass of 7.51 yards, which ranked ninth entering Mondays game.
All of those stats improved Monday after Smith completed a ridiculous 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, with the lone incomplete pass coming on a drop by tight end Delanie Walker.
It certainly could have been a better ball, Smith said. I put it on his back shoulder, and he kind of made up for it with his great catch along the sideline.
When reminded of a report this week that he had lost his confidence following a pair of subpar outings by the offense, Smith made light of the notion.
It was in my closet, he said. I found it.
When he was younger, Smith admits he took criticism a bit more to heart. Now?
At this point I dont care, he said. I think the guys in the locker room know what Im about.
That is the same approach that Harbaugh preached all week: The 49ers dont care about outside perceptions. The second half of the season is all about building the right chemistry. Its about internal tweaking. Its about finding ways to cross the final hurdle that tripped them up last season in an overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship.
San Francisco isnt concerned with being the class of the NFC West. Its concerned with being the class of the NFL.
Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is already in the mood for Thanksgiving. He had turkey on the brain following a dominating 24-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, but it had more to do with his quarterback carving up a defense than someone carving a bird.
Alex Smith looked as sharp as he has all season, torching the Cardinals for 232 yards and three touchdowns...
The San Francisco 49ers and their quarterback, Alex Smtih, beat the Arizona Cardinal during Monday Night Football, 24-3. The often chastised Smith, had a phenominal game, completing 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns.After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if Alex Smith had regained confidence in himself, Harbaugh responded as follow:“I don’t think...
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football last night largely thanks to the excellent performance of QB Alex Smith. The often maligned quarterback was 18/19 for 232 yards and 3 TDs. After the game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about Smith's confidence and putting questions about his performances to rest. Harbaugh offered this wisdom...
Coming off of a 45-3 blowout of the Buffalo Bills, Jim Harbaugh found a pretty effective motivator for his first-place San Francisco 49ers entering Week Six. Harbaugh made a proposal, using old-fashioned R-and-R as the proverbial dangling carrot to make sure his veteran group kept champing at the bit after its 4-2 start, highlighted by consecutive wins over the Jets and Bills by...
It's not even November, but San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh already has turkey on his mind.
The outspoken leader of the NFC West leaders had some interesting things to say about the psyche of his quarterback, Alex Smith, following his team's 24-3 win over division rival Arizona on Monday night in the desert.
Harbaugh was asked whether he thought...
After his quarterback Alex Smith put up an astounding performance on Monday Night Football, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had a word for anyone who had an issue with his starting quarterback.
Check out the video from the fine folks over at Awful Announcing during a Monday press conference when asked about the critics of the his quarterback.
Here is the exact quote of Harbaugh...
On an almost perfect Monday night for Alex Smith, the San Francisco 49ers flexed their NFC West dominance with a 24-3 flattening of the Arizona 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 (6-2) open a two-game lead in the division and send Arizona (4-4) to its fourth straight...
49ers quarterback Alex Smith went 18-of-19 passing Monday night, finishing one completion shy of qualifying for the most accurate single-game performance in NFL history.
Or did he?
According to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee, the 49ers will ask the NFL to review Smith's fourth-quarter throw to Michael Crabtree, an 8-yard gain that was ruled a lateral. If the NFL agrees...
So much for Alex Smith and his lost confidence.
''It was in my closet,'' he said. ''I found it.''
Smith was almost perfect in San Francisco's 24-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. But for a dropped pass, he would have been.
The 49ers quarterback completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns after a...
The San Francisco 49ers handled their business and the opposing team once again Monday night imposing their will upon the Arizona Cardinals for a 24-3 victory. The 49ers have not allowed a touchdown in four of their last five games. The NFC West leaders used their winning formula of power running, bruising defense and phenomenal special teams play to destroy the Cardinals in every...
Monday night’s NFC west divisional showdown saw the San Francisco 49ers go into the University of Phoenix Stadium and completely dismantle the Arizona Cardinals 24-3. The 49ers, on their part, controlled the entire aspect of the game on both offense and defense. They looked as crisp and precise as they have all year, and they dictated the action on nearly every down. The Cardinals...
The 49ers went into Arizona in prime time and dominated their division rival 24-3. The 49ers all around embarrassed the Cardinals.
The 49ers head into their bye week at 6-2 up two games in the West and now at 2-0 in the division. Outside of taking some sacks he should not have, Alex Smith had a solid outing. It should be noted that when he finally got the bandage/tape off his middle...
If it weren’t already evident, the Cardinals are destined to be the team with the hot start that fell apart after a month of media incredulity and sweeping hype. Last year, it was the Bills who started 4-1 before crashing and burning their way to 6-10. No reason to expect that Arizona should fare any better considering the level of competition in their division and the quality...
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The San Francisco 49ers added to Arizona's growing misery Monday night with a 24-3 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium, handing the Cardinals their fourth consecutive loss after a 4-0 start. Alex Smith was super efficient in completing 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns, including two in the first half to Michael Crabtree...