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October 29, 2012
Goldson's thump: "Vince Lombardi would be proud."


GLENDALE, ARIZ. -- The lasting image from last year's game in Arizona: 49ers defensive backs sprawled on the grass as Cardinals receivers dashed for big gains and touchdowns.

On Monday night, it was the Arizona wideouts who were flat on their backs.

Larry Fitzgerald, who had seven catches for 149 yards in a 21-19 Cardinals win on Dec. 11, was held to five catches for 52 yards -- all but two of them coming on the Cardinals's final drive -- by a 49ers defense who made it a priority to take him out of the game. Still, Fitzgerald might have fared better than teammate Early Doucet, who is bound to be a staple of highlight reels this week after he was crushed by a shoulder-to-shoulder hit from safety Dashon Goldson following a short catch over the middle in the fourth quarter.

Said Jim Harbaugh of the hit: "Vince Lombardi would be proud."

Goldson and Doucet have a history. They exchanged blows in the teams' first meting last year and both were ejected. Goldson was hit with a $25,000 fine as a result; Doucet was fined $10,000.

Goldson also was one of several 49ers defensive backs victimized last year as the Cardinals turned three short passes into huge gains after the 49ers either missed tackles or were out-dueled when the ball was in the air.

Goldson vowed before the game he wouldn't let last year's game curb his aggression, and he made good on that promise. "Those hits like that are game changers, and they're momentum changers," he said. "He ran a play, I read it and I just unloaded."

Left tackle Joe Staley said he lost 10 pounds and was battling a 104-degree fever just days before Monday's game. The diagnosis, Staley said -- pneumonia. "I was pretty sick Sunday through Thursday," said Staley, who said his weight dipped to 288 pounds. "I wasn't sure if I was going to play."

He said he gained about half of that back over the weekend and estimated he played Monday's game at 295 pounds. He said he needed an inhaler during the week and used oxygen on the sideline Monday.

"I could tell he was hurting this week," said guard Alex Boone. "For him to come back and play the way he did -- it shows a lot about him.

Staley missed Monday's and Thursday's practices and was limited on Friday and Saturday. He mostly squared off Monday against Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, who made news last week for claiming he and his teammates hated the 49ers "with a passion." Campbell finished with six tackles and a sack.

Brandon Jacobs didn't dress for the game despite being fully healthy and despite fellow running back Frank Gore's bruised ribs. Jacobs dressed for the team's most recent game, Oct. 18 against Seattle, but was the only 49er who didn't get into the game.

"I'm ready whenever coach calls my name," Jacobs said last week. "I can't do anything about what's going on, but I can work hard and show coach that I'm ready, that I'm healthy."

Jacobs joined a bevy of draft picks on the inactive list: receiver A.J. Jenkins, running back LaMichael James, safety Trenton Robinson and guard Joe Looney. Quarterback Scott Tolzien and nose tackle Ian Williams also were inactive.

Return man Ted Ginn followed a game in which he had three punt returns for 70 yards against the Seahawks with a five-return, 59-yard night against the Cardinals. That total included a 35-yard return in the second quarter that helped set up a 43-yard field goal by David Akers.

Ginn's counterpart, second-year player Patrick Peterson, was held to just 15 yards on four returns as the 49ers had their second straight solid outing since struggling to start the season.

Et cetera -- The 49ers defense held Arizona to seven -- this is not a typo -- rushing yards, tying a team record set in 1972 against the Saints.

* San Francisco backup center Daniel Kilgore suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff and did not return. That left Leonard Davis as the only backup offensive lineman and the 49ers with a dearth of players with snapping experience.

* Guard Adam Snyder, who played for the 49ers from 2005-'11, missed the game with a quadriceps injury. Rich Ohrnberger filled in at right guard and made his first-ever NFL start.

* Cornerback Chris Culliver now has two interceptions on the year, tying him with Goldson for the team lead. Culliver picked off a Hail Mary from quarterback John Skelton at the end of the half

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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