On Monday Night Football, the San Francisco 49ers dominated the Arizona Cardinals from start to finish, taking a commanding lead in the NFC West with the 24-3 victory. Michael Crabtree shone brightly with two touchdown receptions, while Patrick Peterson failed to live up to the hype. The running game was as advertised and the defense was as stellar as we've come to imagine.
The pass rush, in particular, was on point, but that's to be expected, right? Arizona's offensive line is ... well, it's not something that should be talked about in public. So anyway, that game was fun, here's some notes I took while it was going on. Up next, there's a bye week.
CLOCK MANAGEMENT? WHAT CLOCK MANAGEMENT? - It just wouldn't be a 49ers game if Alex Smith and the coaching staff didn't waste a timeout and then immediately get called on a delay of game penalty. It's a bad trend, given that most thought that kind of thing would have died with Jimmy Raye and Mike Singletary. Instead, Jim Harbaugh is just as bad at that aspect of football.
PENALTIES ARE FUN - San Francisco was called for three penalties for 35 yards on their very first possession. This is a team that is supposed to be much, much more disciplined than they are. The discipline was supposed to come with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh, and it simply hasn't. Worse, dependable offensive linemen like Mike Iupati are committing bad penalties with regularity these days.
RUNNIN' RUNNIN' RUN RUNNIN' RUNNIN' RUN - Though Jon Gruden doesn't like to commit to one opinion (the 49ers offense is both innovative and gimmicky, apparently), I'll go ahead and do it. The 49ers' rushing offense is absolutely awesome. They're not the best in the league, but the creativity works more often than naught and that's a big, big plus. They get guys moving out in space and sometimes it results in lost yardage, but it often results in a defense that has no idea what the hell just happened to them.
PATRICK PETERSON, MEET MICHAEL CRABTREE - Crabtree beat Peterson on just about every play the two faced each other on, and that's huge. Crabtree has had a couple big games this season, but what he really needed was to dominate another player. He beat Peterson on the jump ball, he beat him on the sideline battle, he beat him by breaking several of his tackles and he juked him out of his shoes once. It was complete domination.
RANDY MAS - The fans continue to call for more looks for Randy Moss, but I'd say the 49ers are using him perfectly. Despite how good he looks in limited time, there's no way he can shoulder a full load at this point. He snagged a touchdown in the 49ers' victory, and he should be counted on for about that many looks per game at this point. Moss can and will contribute down the line, but folks should consider what he's done thus far as exceeding expectations, not failing to meet them.