The San Francisco 49ers received the opening kickoff for the second-straight week, as the Arizona Cardinals won the opening toss and deferred. It's the second time the 49ers have kicked off this season. Ted Ginn Jr. takes the kickoff out after a delay and doesn't get it back to the 20 yard line. Braylon Edwards is starting at wide receiver for San Francisco, and the opening play is a hand-off to Frank Gore on the right side for a pickup of eight yards. On the next play, Kendall Hunter replaces Gore and splits out wide, and quarterback Alex Smith hits Kyle Williams for six yards and a first down.
San Francisco quickly faces a 3rd and eight, and Gore checks out again - he looks kind of shaky. Adam Snyder is called for a false start and the offense backs it up. Kyle Williams remains on the field as the No. 3 receiver. Smith goes to the left side deep, to Michael Crabtree, but he's double-covered and it falls incomplete. Andy Lee comes out to punt a 60+ yard punt, and safety C.J. Spillman makes a huge open-field tackle of ace returner Patrick Peterson for a loss of yards.
Arizona takes over at their own 12 yard line, two yards back of where the 49ers started their opening drive. Kevin Kolb leads the Cardinals offense onto the field, and it's a short run from Beanie Wells, upended by Larry Grant, who is playing in place of Patrick Willis. On the next play, Ahmad Brooks gets huge pressure on Kolb, who gets the dumpoff to Jeff King, but he only picks up a couple yards. Aldon Smith and Justin Smith brutalize the left side of Arizona's offensive line on the next play, and Kolb has the ball knocked loose, but it's called an incomplete pass. Coach Jim Harbaugh challenges the play, saying it was a fumble, though the Cardinals recovered. It's clear he's being aggressive with the field position, as expected. The call is reversed and the 49ers gain nine yards in field position. Arizona punts and the 49ers take over at the Cardinals 42 yard line. Credit Justin Smith with the sack.
So San Francisco comes out, starting their 27th drive in opponent's territory, good for first in the NFL in that regard. Alex Smith leads the offense onto the field in a singleback formation with Gore behind him, and completes a short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. on the right sideline. On the next play, Smith stares down his receiver on the right sideline and goes to pass, but it's batted down at the line of scrimmage. Hunter is brought down behind the line of scrimmage on the next play and the 49ers contemplate a 56 yard field goal, and call a timeout. They elect to go for it instead, and Smith eludes pressure to hit Hunter for a short gain but, more importantly, a first down.
The recently signed Alex Boone enters the game at left tackle as Joe Staley is shaken up, and Gore gets a yard on a run. Daryl Washington explode through a collapsing 49ers line, right up the middle, and gets a sack on Smith. Then, it's another sack on Smith, but Adrian Wilson got a piece of his helmet and it's an automatic first down for the 49ers. Unfortunately, they can't get anything done on first and second down, and then Peterson sacks Alex Smith on the next play, so David Akers comes out and drills a 46-yard field goal, putting San Francisco up 3-0.
Kolb heads to the locker room and John Skelton takes the field for Arizona. It looks like Brooks accidentally hit Kolb in the head. If you blinked, you missed Skelton completing a decent pass to Larry Fitzgerald and then doing nothing, and they punt. The 49ers take over with good field position once again.
After calling a timeout, the 49ers can't seem to get lined up properly, and Harbaugh is angry on the sidelines. They are called for delay of game and the 49ers face another 3rd and long after Smith throws a great ball deep to Ginn, but he can't find it and it fell incomplete. Smith stares down Crabtree again on third down, and it's completed, but it doesn't go for enough yardage to convert, and Lee comes out to punt again. Spillman makes another huge special teams play and downs the bouncing football at the one-yard line.
Arizona picks up a couple of yards, and then throws incomplete to Fitzgerald, well-covered by Tarell Brown. On 3rd and eight, Skelton misses an open Early Doucet and they'll punt. With a couple seconds remaining in the first quarter, Ginn fields the punt near midfield and gets open field, taking it within the ten-yard line as the quarter comes to an end, setting up a first and goal. The first play goes to Edwards, but it's incomplete, and the next is a rush of no gain for Gore. Smith throws incomplete again, and Akers comes on for the field goal. It's good, and the 49ers lead 6-0.