49ers hit their stride against Cardinals

BY foxsports • November 29, 2010

Although they have struggled early this season, San Francisco 49ers may be hitting their stride beating the Arizona Cardinals, 27-6, Monday night and moving within one game of the NFC West lead.

It’s clear that they have adopted Mike Singletary’s approach.

Singletary preaches the fundamentals of football: winning one-on-one matchups, tackling the ball carrier and not turning the ball over. The 49ers did just that and showed they are a group comprised of hard-hitting, hungry players that want to elevate their game each day.

After being shut out last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco committed to the running game and it paid off.

Brian Westbrook gets called upon

The veteran running back got his number called after the 49ers’ feature back Frank Gore went down with an apparent hip injury. Westbrook was given ample opportunity, running the ball 23 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. He will be carrying a majority of the workload if postgame reports after that Gore’s hip injury will sideline him for the remainder of the season are true.

49ers running back out for season?

Reports after the game that Gore’s injury is a fractured hip and is done for the season. The product of the University of Miami was having a solid season and this injury may stall San Francisco’s stretch for an NFC West championship. The 49ers will also look to rookie Anthony Dixon to step his game up in the absence of Gore.

Troy Smith is still developing

Troy Smith started his fourth game of the season and has led the 49ers to a 3-1 record during his tenure. Smith showed his ability to extend the play in the pocket, while keeping his eyes downfield. In the first quarter, Smith hit wide receiver Michael Crabtree with a 37-yard touchdown score. The fourth-year quarterback didn’t have dazzling numbers and threw an interception late in the second quarter -- a pass that hit Crabtree in the hands -- but managed to keep the 49ers in control of the game.

Derek Anderson struggles on and off field

Losing their sixth straight game, the Arizona Cardinals are in the gutter of the NFC West. Quarterback Derek Anderson’s lackluster night was highlighted by a blowup at the podium in the postgame news conference. In the fourth quarter, Anderson was shown chuckling on the sideline with teammate Deuce Lutui while the Cardinals trailed 18 points. When a reporter posed a question about it, Anderson raised his voice and released an unfiltered-combination of expletives.

Where was Arizona’s running game?

Anderson’s night wasn’t helped by a running game. The Cardinals coaching staff only dialed up 11 run plays for a total of 13 yards. Although Arizona was trailing from the get-go, the threat of the run game was non-existent. Former first-round draft pick Beanie Wells needs to be more involved in the offense’s game plan.