Live blog: 49ers vs. Cardinals

SAN FRANCISCO — This is the live blog for the 49ers Week 11 content against the Arizona Cardinals. I will be updating this frequently throughout the game from the Candlestick Park press box.

11:34 The 49ers inactive players are Madieu Williams, Brett Swain, Scott Tolzien, Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person, Ian Williams, Moran Norris.

11:38 Kevin Kolb is inactive for the Cardinals, so John Skelton will at quarterback. Tight end Todd Head is also inactive, so Jeff King will start in his place.

12:17 Alex Smith and Jim Harbaugh are taking turns throwing 30 yard passes. Harbaugh’s still got it.

1:03 The Niners win the toss and defer. The Cardinals will start the game with the ball.

First Quarter

1:05 David Akers kicks the first kickoff past the back of the end zone. The Cardinals start at their 20 yard line.

1:06 On first down, John Skelton overthrows a receiver on the right sideline. Incomplete.

1:06 Next play, Beanie Wells runs up the middle for a gain of four.

1:07 On third and long Skelton puts a short pass right now Larry Fitzgerald’s hands but Carlos Rogers wrestles the ball away. The Cardinals punt and Ted Ginn Jr. returns it to the SF 47, but Tramaine Brock was holding on the play so the Niners start at their 19.

1:09 On first down the Niners line up in a tight I-formation. Alex Smith takes a three step drop and throws a good short pass to Braylon Edwards who drops it.

1:10 Next play, Frank Gore runs up the middle for no gain.

1:10 On third and ten Alex Smith lines up in the shotgun, steps up in the pocket and completes a deep pass to Michael Crabtree down the left sideline. Gain of 30.

1:11 On first down Frank Gore runs off right tackle for a gain of three.

1:11 On second down Alex Smith throws a pass too high to an open Edwards crossing over the middle of the field. Incomplete.

1:12 On third and seven Alex Smith completes a pass to a wide open Michael Crabtree on the left sideline. Crabtree ran a curl route to free himself on that play.

1:13 On first down the Niners come out with zero wide receivers, and Smith hands the ball off to Gore, who runs up the middle for a gain of four.

1:13 Next play Kendall Hunter lines up in the Wild Cat formation, but Bruce Miller false starts. Second and 11 at the Arizona 28.

1:14 Alex Smith stares down his primary target, Edwards, and his pass gets batted down at the line of scrimmage.

1:15 On third and long the Cardinals blitz and Smith flings a pass to Crabtree right before he takes a hit. The pass is too high for Crabtree and it falls incomplete.

1:16 Akers gets his 46-yard field goal attempt blocked. The Cardinals will start their drive at their 36 yard line.

1:17 It’s raining steadily right now at Candlestick Park.

1:18 On first down the Cardinals run a draw play and Beanie Wells picks up eight yards.

1:19 Next play Skelton stares down his primary receiver, Tarell Brown jumps the route and tips the pass to Patrick Willis, who picks the pass off. Niners ball at the Arizona 38.

1:20 On first down Frank Gore runs off left tackle for a gain of three yards.

1:20 Next play Kendall Hunter runs a sweep around the left end for a gain of four yards.

1:21 On third and short Alex Smith throws a good pass – maybe it was a little low – to Vernon Davis on a short slant, and Davis drops the pass.

1:22 And then Akers hooks a 49 yard field goal attempt wide right. The Cardinals take over at their 39 yard line.

1:24 On first down Stephens-Howling runs up the middle for a gain of four.

1:25 Next play the Cardinals run a play action and Skelton throws 20 yards to Fitzgerald on a curl route, but Willis leaps and tips the ball away.

1:26 On third and six Justin Smith bull rushes his man all the back into the pocket and he hits Skelton as he throws. Incomplete. Cardinals try a punt but false start. On their second try Ginn Jr. returns the ball to the SF 34 yard line, but there were offsetting penalties on the play so they have to re-punt.

1:28 This time Ginn Jr. gets tripped up at the 22 yard line, but the Cardinals get called for a personal foul face mask penalty, so the Niners will start their drive at their 37.

1:31 On first down Alex Smith rolls right and misses a wide open Delanie Walker in the flat. The ball must be pretty slippery.

1:31 On second down Smith avoids a sack by stepping up in the pocket and he scrambles for three yards. Third and seven.

1:33 Smith completes a similar pass to Vernon Davis in the right flat, and Davis breaks a tackle, runs five yards and picks up the first down.

1:33 Next play Smith throws a line drive strike to Davis down the middle of the field, and Davis catches it. Gain of 27.

1:34 Next play Gore runs up the middle and picks up 14 yards.

1:35 Greg Roman tries Gore up the middle again, but he only gets two yards this time.

1:36 On second and eight Smith completes a short pass to Bruce Miller in the right flat, and he gains about five yards after the catch before getting pushed out of bounds. Jim Harbaugh wants to challenge the play but it’s not a reviewable play, so it will be third and three at the Arizona 4.

1:39 Smith lines up in the shotgun and throws a high pass to Edwards in the end zone that goes right through his hands. Edwards was wide open and he should have caught that pass. Akers makes a 22 yard field goal. 3-0 Niners with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

1:42 The rain is letting up at the Stick and the sun is out, which is nice.

1:44 The Cardinals start at their 20 after an Akers touch back. On first down Wells runs up the middle and gains four. He fumbles but the refs rule he was down. Jim Harbaugh is challenging this one. It looks on TV like the ball was coming out of Well’s hands before his knee hit the ground.

1:47 The refs reverse their initial call and give the Niners the ball at the Arizona 26. Donte Whitner recovered the fumble.

1:48 On first down Alex Smith throws a perfect pass to an open Vernon Davis on a wheel route but Davis can’t keep his feet in bounds. Incomplete.

1:49 Next play Gore runs off left tackle for one yard.

1:50 On third and nine the Cardinals blitz and Smith throws deep to Edwards, but he overthrows him by ten yards and the Niners have to settle for three yet again.

1:50 Akers makes this 43 yard field goal. 6-0 Niners.

1:52 The key play on that drive was the missed completion to Davis down the right sideline. I initially described the pass as perfect but it was just very good. A perfect pass wouldn’t have been so close to the sideline.

1:53 On first down Wells runs up the middle for three yards.

1:53 Next play Skelton completes a short pass to Fitzgerald and Bowman tackles him immediately. No gain.

1:54 On third and seven Skelton has all the time in the world to pass, but he trips over himself in the pocket and fumbles the ball for a second before he falls on it. Ahmad Brooks touches him on the ground to get the sack. The field looks very wet today.

Second Quarter

1:59 The Niners start at their 39. On first down Smith completes a short pass to Vernon Davis on a crossing route, picking up five yards.

2:00 Next play Gore runs up the middle, makes one cut to the right and picks up four yards. Third and one.

2:01 Smith sneaks the ball for a gain of two and a first down. The ball is at midfield.

2:01 On first down Smith lines up in shotgun with five wide receivers. He completes a pass underneath to Kyle Williams on a slant for fourteen yards.

2:01 Next play Gore runs up the middle, breaks a tackle and picks up eight yards.

2:03 Roman runs Gore up the middle again but he only picks up one yard this time. Third and one at the Arizona 28.

2:04 The entire stadium was expecting another Gore run up the middle, so Smith fakes the handoff, rolls right and completes a short pass to Crabtree, who picks up 12 yards. Good play call and execution.

2:04 Next play Smith takes a shot at the end zone, but he overthrows an open Crabtree.

2:05 Next play Smith lines up in the pistol formation and throws a quick bubble screen to Crabtree, who gains four.

2:05 Bruce Miller is walking off the field with an injury.

2:06 On third and six Smith throws a checkdown pass to Gore’s feet and he can’t catch it.

2:06 Akers gets his 26 yard field goal attempt blocked by Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals take over at their 20.

2:08 According to the press box announcer, Bruce Miller has a head injury and his return is questionable.

2:09 On first down Wells runs up the middle for no gain. Parys Haralson records the tackle.

2:10 Skelton fakes a handoff, which Ahmad Brooks bites on, and he completes a pass to fullback Reagan Maui’a for a gain of 12.

2:10 Next play Skelton throws incomplete over the middle. The pass was intended for Fitzgerald.

2:11 The Cardinals try Wells up the middle again, and that play still isn’t working. He picks up one. Third and nine.

2:11 Skelton throws way over Andre Roberts head and the pass falls incomplete. If the pass had been more accurate it probably would have been picked off.

2:11 Ginn Jr. almost gets his head taken off on the kick return, plus the Niners get flagged for holding. They’ll start their drive at their 14 yard line.

2:14 On first down Gore runs up the middle for a gain of 12.

2:15 Next play Gore runs off left guard and it looks like he gets stopped at the line of scrimmage but he squirts through for a gain of four.

2:16 Next play Smith throws a strike to Kyle Williams on a curl route. Williams makes the first guy miss and picks up the first down. Gain of ten. Kyle Williams is good.

2:17 On first and ten Hunter runs off left tackle for a gain of six. Second and six at the SF 46.

2:17 Smith looks off his first two options, keeps his cool, and calmly completes a pass to Hunter in the left flat. Hunter runs for 15 yards. Good play by both Smith and Hunter.

2:18 Next play Smith tries to throw deep to Vernon Davis again, but he throws another pass too far. Incomplete.

2:19 On second and ten Gore bounces a run out to the right and picks up nine yards. Third and one at the Arizona 30.

2:19 Here’s a curious play call. Roman wants his smallest running back, Hunter, to rush up the middle on third and short. He loses a yard. Jim Harbaugh takes a timeout. You’d think the Niners would go for it here, especially since Akers has missed some kicks today.

2:22 Smith rolls right and completes a pass on the run to Kyle Williams, the Niners most reliable receiver today. Gain of 12. Great pass and catch.

Two Minute Warning.

2:26 The Niners try a screen and it doesn’t develop, so Smith throws the ball into the grass.

2:27 Gore runs off right guard for a loss of one. Arizona calls a timeout with 1:47 left in the first half.

2:29 Smith steps up in the pocket and completes a short pass to Vernon Davis who’s tackled one yard before the first down. Gain of nine. David Akers is on the field to attempt a 29 yard field goal, but Jim Harbaugh calls a 30 second time out. Could he change his mind and go for the first down?

2:30 Akers stays out on the field. He makes this 29 yard field goal. The Niners take a commanding 9-0 lead.

2:33 On first down Skelton completes a pass to a wide open Doucet in the left flat. He turns up field and gains 16 yards.

2:34 Skelton goes back to Doucet, completing a pass to him for eight yards this time.

2:34 Skelton rolls left and throws the ball out of bounds. Third and two.

2:35 Skelton gets pressure in the pocket and throws a wild pass too low for his receiver. Incomplete.

Halftime

Alex Smith: 13 for 26, 171 yards, 71.2 rating.
John Skelton:  4 for 13, 36 yards, 1 INT, 8.2 rating.
49ers on third down: 3 for 9.
49ers in the red zone: 0 for 3.

Third Quarter

2:50 Ginn Jr. takes the kickoff out from the back of the end zone and returns it to the SF 16.

2:51 On first down Gore runs off left guard for a gain of one.

2:51 Next play Smith completes a pass to Crabtree on the left sideline. Crabtree proceeds to make a hundred Cardinals miss before picking up 29 yards.

2:52 On first down Gore runs up the middle for three.

2:53 Next play Smith takes a one step drop and fires a pass to Crabtree at the line of scrimmage. Crabtree makes Peterson miss and he picks up 15 yards.

2:53 Next play Smith steps up and checks down to Frank Gore for a six yard gain.

2:54 Gore runs up the middle for three. Third and one at the Arizona 27.

2:55 Gore runs up the middle again and the officials measure the spot of the ball. The Niners are a couple inches short, and it looks like the offense is going for it on fourth down.

2:56 The Cardinals put ten defenders in the box. Roman calls a Gore run up the middle anyway. Gore powers through the line for two yards and a first down.

2:57 Anthony Davis walks off the field with an injury. Alex Boone takes his place at right tackle.

2:59 Gore runs off left guard for two. Second and eight at the Arizona 23.

3:00 Smith scrambles around the left end for another two yards.

3:01 The middle of the pocket opens up, so Smith scrambles up the middle for a gain of 13.

3:01 Next play Gore runs up the middle for two.

3:02 Smith completes a pass to Kyle Williams on the left sideline for a touchdown. Williams ran in then cut back out, completely fooling the cornerback, and Smith put the pass right where it needed to be. 16-0 Niners.

3:05 Stephens Howling takes the kickoff back to the Arizona 22 before Anthony Dixon tackles him.

3:08 Skelton fakes a handoff and completes an 18 yard pass to Fitzgerald over the middle.

3:09 Another play fake, another deep pass to Fitzgerald, but this time Skelton overthrows his man by 10 yards. Whitner picks it off and returns it 48 yards to the AZ 37.

3:10 Now the Niners play fake. Smith rolls right and fires a nice pass on the run to Kyle Williams on the right side line. Gain of 11.

3:10 Next play Gore runs around the right end for eight yards.

3:11 Gore runs up the middle again but gains nothing this time. It seems like running Gore up the middle twice in a row doesn’t work today.

3:12 Smith throws a perfect pass over Vernon Davis’ shoulder in the end zone and Davis catches it. Touchdown, 23-0 Niners. The Arizona defense finally figured out a way to get off the field quickly.

3:15 Akers boots the kickoff past the end zone for a touchback.

3:15 That was Vernon Davis’ 34th career receiving TD. That’s a franchise record for a tight end. Brent Jones had 33.

3:17 On first down Wells takes a draw for a nine yard gain.

3:18 Next play Skelton throws over Sampson’s head on the left sideline. Incomplete.

3:18 On third down Skelton completes a short pass to Roberts, who beats Rogers, and picks up 45 yards after the catch.

3:19 Skelton avoids Ray McDonald in the pocket and throws a shovel pass incomplete in the vicinity of his running back.

3:20 Skelton tries to throw to Fitzgerald over the middle, but he completes the pass to a diving Dashon Goldson instead. Niners ball at their 18 yard line.

3:20 Smith and Gore are still in the game. Smith completes a very short pass to Vernon Davis. Alex Boone gets called for a ten-yard illegal hands to the face penalty. First and 20.

3:22 Gore runs up the middle for four. Second and 16.

3:22 Smith completes a short pass to Crabtree on a slant. Gain of nine. Third and seven.

3:23 Smith gets flushed out of the pocket, but he throws a good running pass to Vernon Davis on the sideline but he drops it. Andy Lee punts, Patrick Peterson fumbles, and NaVorro Bowman recovers it. Niners ball at the Arizona 31. That’s five turnovers in three quarters for the Cardinals.

3:25 Anthony Dixon is in the game at tailback, and on first down he runs up the middle for four.

3:26 Smith throws a beautiful pass to Crabtree on the left sideline near the end zone and Patrick Peterson interferes. First and goal at the seven.

3:27 The Niners can’t figure out how to line up so Jim Harbaugh calls a 30 second timeout.

3:28 Delanie Walker lines up at tailback, Smith drops back and tries to throw it to him coming out of the backfield, but he gets blasted from behind as he throws. That’s the first time he’s been hit all game. Arizona is challenging the play – they think the ball was coming out of Smith’s hand before his arm was moving forward. I disagree with them. It looked like an interception to me.

3:31 The refs confirm the ruling of an incomplete pass. Second and seven.

3:31 Dixon runs up the middle for no gain.

Fourth Quarter

3:35 Alex Smith throws an interception to Daryl Washington.

3:35 The Cardinals gain four on first down, zero on second down, and on third down Skelton throws a terrible pass behind Doucet. The Cardinals punt. Ginn Jr. gets tackled at the SF 40.

3:39 Kendall Hunter runs off left guard for one yard.

3:40 Smith throws a pass two yards behind Delanie Walker on a second down crossing route.

3:40 Smith avoids one snap and takes another, but A.J.Jefferson was holding the unguardable Kyle Williams deep down the field. First and ten at the SF 46.

3:41 Next play Hunter runs off left tackle for two.

3:42 Hunter runs a sweep right, jumps over one defender and gets smacked in the air. Gain of one.

3:43 On third and eight Smith throws to Vernon Davis running a crossing route five yards past the line of scrimmage, and the Cardinals’ defender reaches out and bats the pass away. Good play by that guy. Glenn Dickey, who was sitting next to me, says he’s seen enough. He’s going home.

3:45 Skelton stands in the pocket forever and Aldon Smith sacks him. There’s a scuffle after the play, and the refs blame it on Dashon Goldson. 15 yard unneccary roughness penalty and Goldson’s ejected. Looking at the replay, Doucet slapped Goldson in the head when he was on the ground, then Goldson fired a few punches back and gets caught.

3:48 On second and seven Skelton completes a nice pass to Sampson on the right sideline for nine yards.

3:49 Next play Skelton completes a pass over the middle to Doucet for six.

3:50 And then Chester Taylor runs up the middle for again of 34.

3:50 Next play Skelton completes a 23 yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald. The pass went right through Rogers’ hands before Fitzgerald caught it. 23-7 Niners.

3:53 The Cardinals line up for a onside kick to Ginn Jr. runs up. Then they kick it long, so he runs back, picks the ball up and returns it to the 20 before catching a left hook to the face out of bounds. 15 yard penalty. First and ten at the SF 35 with 8:31 left.

3:55 Hunter runs off right end, breaks a tackle and picks up nine.

3:59 Hunter runs up the middle for six.

4:00 Hunter runs a sweep right, cuts back, slips, and loses two.

4:01 Hunter takes a draw up the middle and gets those two yards back. Third and 10.

4:02 Smith lines up in the shotgun and hands the ball off to Hunter, who loses one.

I’m going down to the field. I’ll be back at you soon.