Smith, Westbrook help 49ers beat Cards in finale

Smith, Westbrook help 49ers beat Cards in finale
January 3, 2011, 12:42 am
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Jan. 2, 201149ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOBOX SCORE NFL SCOREBOARDSAN FRANCISCO (AP) In his likely last hurrah for San Francisco, Alex Smith made his case for a starting job elsewhere.Smith threw a 59-yard touchdown passto Vernon Davis in what likely was the quarterback's final game withthe 49ers, and San Francisco beat Arizona 38-7 on Sunday in a matchupfor last place in the awful NFC West.Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draftpick who becomes a free agent, passed for 276 yards and two TDs overalland the Niners (6-10) made interim coach Jim Tomsula a winner in whatwill probably be his only game coaching the team. Tomsula was promotedfrom his defensive line duties after Mike Singletary was firedfollowing a loss last week.Larry Fitzgerald had a 10-yard TDreception from John Skelton among his 11 catches for Arizona (5-11),which failed to win back-to-back games all year.Brian Westbrook had a pair of 6-yard TD runs in the third quarter for San Francisco.The game affected both teams' top-10 picks in April's draft - exact positioning still to be determined.The teams went 1-2 in the division ayear ago and had high hopes entering 2010, with the 49ers favored towin the West. Instead, they began 0-5 and couldn't produce thefranchise's first winning season since its last trip to the postseasonin 2002.Davis finished the year with seven TDreceptions, six fewer than a year ago when he tied Antonio Gates'record by a tight end with 13. Tarell Brown added a late 62-yardinterception return for a touchdown in San Francisco's second-highestscoring output of the season.Westbrook - clobbered on anaround-the-neck tackle by safety Adrian Wilson late in the first half -had his second big game of the year against the Cardinals. He ran for136 yards and a score in a 27-6 Monday night victory on Nov. 29 afterFrank Gore went down with a season-ending fractured right hip. OnSunday, Westbrook became the only active player and one of four overallwith 40 career rushing touchdowns and 30 TDs receiving.Smith hit Ted Ginn Jr. on a 37-yardtouchdown pass to the right corner of the end zone to put San Franciscoahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.Smith was sacked times in hisprevious start, a 34-7 loss at San Diego on Dec. 16. Singletary turnedback to Troy Smith in last Sunday's loss at St. Louis, then Tomsulanamed Alex Smith his starter for the season finale.Alex Smith completed his first sixpasses before throwing an incompletion late in the first quarter totackle Adam Snyder, who reported eligible.The Niners were 1-for-7 on thirddowns in the first half and Smith was sacked twice but San Franciscoput together a solid second half for a commanding victory - though notmany fans stuck around to see it. It was a dismal crowd at CandlestickPark on a cool, overcast afternoon after heavy rain fell over night.The 49ers won their fourth straightin the series despite Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt being determinedto finish strong and make a statement after the embarrassment on MondayNight Football in late November. Arizona managed only eight first downsin that game, getting 11 rushes for 13 yards.The 49ers are set to make changes.Club president Jed York plans to hire a general manager soon, then havethat person pick the new coach. San Francisco will surely make a run atStanford's Jim Harbaugh after his team plays in the Orange Bowl onMonday night.San Francisco's defense missedfour-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker Patrick Willis, who sat out anddidn't start for the first time in his career. Willis underwent asecond surgical procedure on his broken right hand early last week.