49ers move to 9-1 with 23-7 win over Cardinals


49ers move to 9-1 with 23-7 win over Cardinals


SAN FRANCISCO -- When the 49ers stopped settling for field-goal attempts Sunday, the NFC West leaders ran away with a 23-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park.The 49ers improved to 9-1, the organization's best start since 1997 with their eighth consecutive victory. The 49ers, who face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, will have a chance to clinch their first division title since 2002.The 49ers remained one game behind the Green Bay Packers (10-0) in the race for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.The 49ers piled up a lot of yards in the first half but had only three field goals to show for it. The 49ers had 249 yards of total offense, but settled for David Akers field goals of 22, 43 and 29 yards.But the 49ers took all drama out of the game in the third quarter when quarterback Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes. Smith finished the game with .Takeaways galore: The 49ers forced five turnovers in the game, as they continue to excel in the takeawaygiveaway category. Linebacker Patrick Willis had an interception and forced a fumble. Donte Whitner recovered a fumble and had an interception, and Dashon Goldson recorded his third interception of the season. Also, NaVorro Bowman recovered a fumbled punt.FG struggles: Akers entered the game with 23 field goals in 25 attempts, but he missed three attempts in the first half. Two of the kicks were blocked, and Akers was also wide right from 49 yards.Williams emerges: Second-year player Kyle Williams took advantage of his chances on Sunday, as he replaced Ted Ginn as the No. 3 receiver. Williams had five catches for 54 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown catch from Smith. Williams has two touchdown catches on the season, and that leads all 49ers wide receivers.Crabtree's best: Miichael Crabtree had a season-best seven catches for 120 yards, including a 38-yard reception on the firstDavis' milestone: Tight end Vernon Davis caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the 49ers a 23-0 lead. It was Davis' 34th career touchdown to give him the sole lead in franchise history for most touchdowns by a tight end. He had previously been tied with Brent Jones.Gore starts: Running back Frank Gore returned to action after behind held to zero yards and sustaining a right knee injury against the New York Giants. Gore started and carried 24 times for 88 yards before being removed with the 49ers holding a sizable second-half lead.Shortage of fullbacks: Rookie fullback Bruce Miller sustained a concussion in the first half and did not return. So the 49ers used backup tight ends Delanie Walker and Justin Peelle in that role the remainder of the game. Veteran fullback Moran Norris has not suited up since the second week of the season when he sustained a fractured leg. While Norris was out of the lineup, Miller took over and held onto the starting fullback job.Goldson ejected: The game figures to have been costly for Goldson, who was ejected for retaliating in the fourth quarter against Cardinals receiver Early Doucet with a flurry of punches. Goldson is subject to a fine and possible suspension. "We will not make any determinations today on game-related discipline," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

PHOENIX – Free-agent running back DuJuan Harris will re-sign with the 49ers, his agent said.

Harris, 28, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season with one start. He rushed for 138 yards on 38 attempts. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards.

Harris has also seen time with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Seattle in his four-year NFL career.

The 49ers did not tender Harris as a restricted free agent, but agent Andy Simms revealed his client will re-sign with the 49ers via Twitter. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and defensive lineman Chris Jones are the only other free agents the 49ers have re-signed.

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."