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49ers Vs. Cardinals Score Update: Alex Smith Struggles, But 49ers Lead 19-14 After Third

The Arizona Cardinals received the kickoff to open the second half, and John Skelton hit Larry Fitzgerald for a big gain right off the bat, but the Cardinals were called for holding, and the play came back. Then, they were called for false start, and had a first and 25 backed up near their own endzone. Their next two plays went for essentially nothing, and then Aldon Smith came up with a sack at the one-yard line, forcing the Cardinals to punt from their own endzone. That brings his total to 10.5 on the season, the first 49er to get double digit sacks since Andre Carter in 2002.

So the San Francisco 49ers took over, and then Frank Gore busted a big one almost immediately, for a 37-yard touchdown run to bring the game to 19-7. Gore was almost untouched on his way to the endzone.

The 49ers kicked off and Arizona started driving again, picking up a first down, and then seemingly being shut down, but Larry Grant was called for roughing the passer. It was a very bad call, it wasn't even close to roughing, by any stretch of the imagination. So Arizona gets a free first down, and a seven-yard completion on first down set them up with a second and short. Beanie Wells was stuffed big time on the next play, so they had a third and three. Skelton hits Early Doucet for the first down. At this point, Kevin Kolb was declared out for the game. Skelton ines up with an empty backfield in the shotgun on second down, and hits Larry Fitzgerald over the middle, and it goes for a touchdown. Dashon Goldson was on defense, trying to pick off the ball. He handled it poorly, trying too hard to pick it off instead of just playing good defense. So the Cardinals brought the game to 19-14. 

If you blinked, you missed a couple incompletions and the 49ers offense quickly leaving the field. Smith threw a pass to Braylon Edwards that was never looked for, then threw a terrible pass to the ground while he had good protection. Andy Lee came out to punt, and Patrick Peterson called a fair catch at the 35 yard line.

Arizona took the field and immediately, LaRod Stephens-Howling took a shovel pass eighteen yards. A couple plays later, and the Cardinals were set up with a 3rd and 5. The crowd was back into it at this point, but Grant came through with the pass defensed, forcing an Arizona punt.  Alex Smith went deep to Michael Crabtree on the first play, and it was almost picked, but Michael Crabtree got into it and broke it up, bringing up a second and ten. Eventually, it all goes nowhere and the 49ers have to punt. Peterson has a 12 yard return to the 33 yard line. 

On the first play of Arizona's drive, Skelton hits Fitzgerald on the left sideline for a 15 yard pickup and a first down. Then, Skelton scrambled for 14 yards and another first down. San Francisco is really giving this game away. On first down, Skelton goes deep again, but the pass is tipped and falls incomplete. On second down, Jeff King gets the Cardinals to third down and short, with about two yards to go. Skelton avoids a sack from Aldon Smith and throws to Larry Fitzgerald, but it's too high, and cornerback Tarell Brown falls to catch it for the interception, getting a much-needed turnover. Ken Whisenhunt challenges it, but it's clearly a pick. The referees come out and confirm the call.

Alex Smith comes out and throws a pass that is almost picked, but there's two flags on the play. The only one that matters is the 15-yard personal foul penalty to Delanie Walker and it's an automatic first down. Kendall Hunter picks up a couple yards on the next play, and the 49ers have a 2nd and five. Smith throws deep to Crabtree on the right sideline and it's overthrown, again. On the next play, Walker drops a wide open pass, and the 49ers are forced to punt. Patrick Peterson is covered well, once again, and Arizona takes over just beyond the 20 yard line, as the third quarter comes to an end with the 49ers winning 19-14.