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October 29, 2012
Halftime: Crabtree, 49ers defense roughing up Cardinals

GLENDALE, ARIZ. -- So far it's Michael Crabtree 4, Patrick Peterson 0.

The 49ers receiver, who had one touchdown entering tonight's game, has two in the first half and has made Peterson look foolish on both. The 49ers lead 17-0.

The 49ers opened the scoring by getting the kind of aggressive pass from Alex Smith that 49ers fans -- and some 49ers receivers -- have been clamoring for in recent weeks. Following a seven-play drive, Smith and the 49ers faced third and goal from the Arizona 3-yard line.

Smith took the snap, took three steps back and fired a pass to Crabtree with Peterson's back turned toward the quarterback. Crabtree, whom coach Jim Harbaugh said had the best hands he'd ever seen, reached over Peterson to secure the wobbly pass and give the 49ers an early 7-0 lead. Smith is 14-15 for 146 with the two touchdowns to Crabtree. He has a quarterback rating of 146.8.

On the second, he took a short pass from Smith, cut hard inside and left Peterson sprawling on the grass. He also escaped on two other throws, including one on third and 23 in which he picked up 22 yards and set up a 43-yard field goal by David Akers.

The 49ers have nearly doubled the Cardinals time of possession -- 19:24 to 10:36 -- and they've held Arizona to six yards rushing. Longtime nemesis Larry Fitzgerald, who had a huge game the last time these teams met, has been held to one catch for 13 yards. Cornerback Chris Culliver intercepted quarterback John Skelton (7-15, 72 yards) on a Hail Mary as the half ended.

One of the few negatives for the 49ers -- they have five penalties for 50 yards, and a good-looking opening drive was undone by penalties. Smith also has been sacked twice, including a hard hit by defensive end Calais Campbell.

-- 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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