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49ers vs. Cardinals 2012: Niners show a 'killer instinct'

The 49ers took control of the NFC West on Monday night, and were able to put away the Cardinals in blow away fashion.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers had little trouble with NFC West-rival Arizona on Monday, as the offense built a lead that the defense refused to relinquish. The way that Niners put the Cardinals away, without letting them get back into the game in the second half, was encouraging for fans.

49ers blog Niners Nation was encouraged by the way the San Francisco defense took control in the second half:

The 49ers took a 17-0 lead into the third quarter and the defense clamped down on Arizona. There were some stretches where the Cardinals started to pick up yards, but generally speaking the defense stopped them. This was highlighted at the end of the game. The Cardinals were driving deep into 49ers territory, but the defense stiffened up and stopped the Cardinals just short of the end zone. No garbage touchdowns for you!

This is obviously a very small sample size and doesn't tell us everything we need to know. Nonetheless, some kind of killer instinct is welcome. The 49ers are developing that and will hopefully build on it moving forward.

The Niners are now two games ahead of the Seahawks and Cardinals for the lead in the NFC West, after what appeared to be a tight division race earlier on. The Cardinals have now lost four-straight games after a 4-0 start, but their fans are still finding positives.

Cardinals blog Revenge of the Birds was pleased with the play of one of Arizona's younger offensive starters:

WR Andre Roberts had a decent day for the Cardinals, which is inspiring for the #2 WR on the depth chart. He finished the day with 7 receptions for 65 yards, which is definitely something to work with moving forward

The 49ers have another chance to deal a blow to a division rival this week, as the St. Louis Rams come to town. For the Cardinals, things aren't getting any easier, as they travel to Green Bay on Sunday.