The 49ers' big victory came with a big price: losing offensive playmaker and workhorse Frank Gore. Gore left the game after just a handful of rushing attempts. Five, to be exact, and he happened to pick up 52 yards on said attempts. He looked primed for a big game, but eventually left the field on his own power and took himself out of the game with an apparent hip injury.
It's now been confirmed that Frank will be out for the remainder of the season and likely placed on injured reserve with a fractured hip. After he left the field with the injury, he tried to go back in before coming out again - and promptly had his helmet hidden from him by the coaches. Gore has always been this way, ever since 2006 when he became the main offensive weapon for the 49ers.
Brian Westbrook was considered an underutilized weapon heading into this game, with only a handful of carries on the season. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson discussed getting Westbrook involved prior to Monday night's showdown with the Cardinals, but he had no choice and it paid dividends in the end. Westbrook had his first 100-yard rushing game since rushing for 131 yards against the New York Giants on Dec. 7, 2008. He carried for 136 yards on 23 attempts with one touchdown.
It's bittersweet though, Westbrook's "coming out," can only be considered a silver lining at this point for the 49ers. No amount of hard running can make 49ers fans feel that they're better off with Westbrook in comparison to Gore at this stage in their careers. Still, as noted in the link above, the 49ers don't face any stiff tests in the rushing defense department, and may be able to get the job done with Brian Westbrook, providing he can stay healthy, and Anthony Dixon.
The 49ers other running back, Anthony Dixon, rushed for 54 yards off of 14 attempts and a touchdown, the second of his career. Dixon was drafted in the sixth round of this year's draft to compete with second-year Glen Coffee, who retired unexpectedly in the preseason.
With the drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers remain in the hunt for the NFC West division crown, sitting one game back of the St. Louis Rams.