The San Francisco 49ers suddenly look vulnerable. The Arizona Cardinals clung to a 21-19 lead for most of the fourth quarter, holding on to pull off a major upset against a division rival. While the loss will provoke concerns among the 49ers faithful as well as the chattering classes, Jim Harbaugh's team remains in firm control of their playoff destiny, and they have three games to iron out the kinks.
Alex Smith was sacked five times by the Cardinals defense. That prevented San Francisco's offense from building and sustaining some much needed momentum. Smith had 175 passing yards on 18 completions in 37 attempts, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Frank Gore rushed for 72 yards and the Niners' only touchdown of the game. Their defense had a 19-7 lead to work with in after third quarter Frank Gore touchdown. They were never able to shut down the combination of John Skelton and Larry Fitzgerald.
Arizona lost Kevin Kolb early in the game. John Skelton once again proved to be little difference working in relief. Skelton completed 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Fitzgerald dominated the San Francisco secondary. He caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Early Doucet caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass.
San Francisco gets a long week to reflect before a Monday night home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arizona hosts the Cleveland Browns, giving them a chance to keep pace with the Seahawks for second place in the division.