49ers 24, Cardinals 9
By Janie McCauley
SAN FRANCISCO ó The Arizona Cardinals threw away a chance to clinch a second straight NFC West crown.
Alex Smith threw touchdown passes after two of Arizona’s seven turnovers, Frank Gore ran for 167 yards and another score and the San Francisco 49ers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a dominant 24-9 victory Monday.
San Francisco forced the Cardinals into five first-half turnovers. Kurt Warner threw two interceptions in the opening half after going 130 passes without a pick. Now, Arizona (8-5) can still clinch the division by winning two of its final three games.
Smith, who connected on TD passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, finished 19 of 35 for 144 yards. The 49ers (6-7) had a franchise-record five forced fumbles, two by safety Dashon Goldson.
Warner followed the best four-game stretch of his career with a dud ó going 16 of 29 for 178 yards. He was sacked four times.
It didn’t help matters the Cardinals lost star receiver Larry Fitzgerald early in the second half to a right knee injury after Goldson landed on him. He later returned.