Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3


Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tight end Vernon Davis was again the forgotten man.But that was all right with the 49ers because quarterback Alex Smith reacquainted himself with wide receiver Michael Crabtree.Smith and Crabtree combined for two first-half touchdowns as the 49ers destroyed the Arizona Cardinals 24-3 in front of a national-television audience on "Monday Night Football."Meanwhile, the 49ers' top-ranked defense held the opposition out of the end zone for the fourth time in eight games this season.Smith, who struggled in back-to-back games against the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks, regained early-season success as the 49ers (6-2) extended their lead in the NFC West to two full games over the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith previously threw three touchdown passes on seven occasions, most recently Oct. 7 against the Buffalo Bills. Smith's passer rating for the night was 157.1 -- just shy of a perfect mark of 158.3.Crabtree was Smith's favorite target with five catches for 72 yards -- most of which came at the expense of 2011 top-10 draft pick Patrick Peterson. Four of Crabtree's receptions came for third-down conversions.Smith, who at times is cautious to a fault, allowed Crabtree to make a play against the tight coverage of Peterson for a 3-yard touchdown pass to get the 49ers' offense going in the first quarter.Crabtree set up the 49ers' second score -- David Akers' 43-yard field goal -- with an impressive catch-and-run for a 22-yard gain on a third-and-23 play in the middle of the second quarter.Then, Smith and Crabtree teamed up to virtually put the game out of reach near the end of the first half against the punchless Cardinals. On a third-and-goal from the 9, Crabtree caught a short pass from Smith. Crabtree made an inside move, causing Peterson to lose his footing and fall. Crabtree scampered into the end zone.That play capped a strong bounce-back half for Smith, who completed 14 of 15 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. His first-half passer rating was 146.8. The only incompletion of the first half came when tight end Delanie Walker dropped a pass.Smith targeted Davis with just one pass in the first half, breaking a string of 106 minutes of game action in which Smith did not target Davis. The one time in the first half that Smith threw in Davis' direction it resulted in a 25-yard completion to set up Crabtree's second touchdown.MONDAY MOSS: Veteran wide receiver Randy Moss scored his first touchdown since Week 1 when he caught a third-and-8 pass against rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming.Instead of going out of bounds, Moss made an inside move, picked up a block from Vernon Davis and zig-zagged his way for a 47-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. The play gave the 49ers a 24-0 lead.It was Moss' 155th career receiving touchdown. Moss has 18 touchdown catches in 19 games on Monday nights. He ranks third behind Jerry Rice (34) and Terrell Owens (21).KILGORE INJURED: Backup center Daniel Kilgore sustained a concussion in the first quarter, presumably on the opening kickoff. The 49ers had only seven offensive linemen active for the game. Veteran Leonard Davis was the 49ers' only backup lineman after Kilgore's injury.JACOBS SITS: Running back Brandon Jacobs is off the 49ers' injury list, but that does not mean he's on the 46-man active list. Jacobs was one of the 49ers' seven inactive players, including each of the team's draft choices.First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins and Jacobs have been active for one game apiece this season but neither has seen any game action. Meanwhile, second-round pick LaMichael James has been inactive for every game.THIS 'N' THAT: The Cardinals averted the shutout with :57 remaining in the third quarter when Jay Feely kicked a 28-yard field goal. The Cardinals elected to kick the field goal, rather than go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 49ers' 10. . . . Safety Dashon Goldson, who last season was fined 25,000 for his role in a scuffle with Cardinals receiver Early Doucet, leveled Doucet with a hit ruled to be legal in the fourth quarter. Goldson broke up the pass with a huge hit. Doucet remained on the turf for a few moments but left under his own power. Doucet was fined 10,000 last season for striking Goldson in the helmet area. . . Immediately following Goldson's hit, linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith recorded sacks of Cardinals quarterback John Skelton on back-to-back plays.NEXT UP: The 49ers have a bye week and will return to action Sunday, Nov. 11, against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park. It'll be the 49ers' third consecutive game within the NFC West.

Ward opens training camp on PUP list


Ward opens training camp on PUP list

SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp, the 49ers announced Friday morning.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.

But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Because Ward was placed on the PUP list, by definition, his injury occurred while under team supervision.

The specifics of Ward’s injury were not immediately known. He can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.

Hyde 'flips switch,' aims to become best back in NFL


Hyde 'flips switch,' aims to become best back in NFL

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde has been the 49ers' unchallenged starter since the organization allowed Frank Gore to leave in free agency after the 2014 season.

Finally, he has been challenged.

The 49ers drafted Joe Williams in the fourth round, signed veteran Tim Hightower and acquired Kapri Bibbs in a trade. Moreover, Hyde appears to be challenging himself, too.

“My goal is to be the No. 1 rushing running back in this league,” Hyde said. “I feel like I have the best opportunity to do that now with this new staff.”

General manager John Lynch said he has noticed Hyde “flipped a switch” in the offseason. Hyde remained in the Bay Area to use the 49ers’ facilities to work out and eat at the team’s cafeteria. At one point, he even asked coach Kyle Shanahan about being included on special teams.

Hyde reported to training camp Thursday at 228 pounds – the least he has weighed since his high-school days, he said. Hyde could be a good fit for Shanahan’s running scheme.

“It’s outside zone, which is downhill. I’m a downhill back. I feel like I fit the scheme very well,” said Hyde, who enters the final year of his contract.

Hyde had career-best totals of 988 yards and six touchdowns last season with a 4.6-yard average. Although the 49ers could use more a multi-pronged approach at running back, Hyde could be set up for a career year heading into free agency.

“I ran into him in the hall and he looks tremendous,” Lynch said. “He really has dedicated himself. He’s changed his body type this offseason and that to me at the least bit shows a commitment. There’s those stories, but we’re excited to see this whole thing as we take the next step.”