November 11, 2008

Cards Hold on, Pad NFC West Lead

By Vicki Michaelis

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- On the national stage of Monday Night Football, the Arizona Cardinals wanted to show they're not as bad as they have been. The San Francisco 49ers set out to prove they're not as bad as they seem.

The Cardinals escaped with a 29-24 victory, but both teams made a statement. Arizona's resonated loudest, as the Cardinals stopped 49ers running back Michael Robinson on their 1-yard line as time ran out.

The Cardinals improved to 6-3, extending their lead in the NFC West, where every other team, including the 49ers, has just two wins. The win was their seventh in a row at University of Phoenix Stadium and their first in their last seven MNF appearances.

"I'm excited that we're four games up, but I'm most excited that we found a way to win a tough game," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

With 4:16 remaining in the game, the Cardinals finally capitalized on an interception thrown by 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill -- two others had been returned for would-be touchdowns but were negated by penalties.

A 34-yard interception return by linebacker Karlos Dansby put the Cardinals at the 49ers' 5. Two plays later, Arizona veteran quarterback Kurt Warner threw a 4-yard pass to Anquan Boldin for the go-ahead score.

"We played together, we came here to win," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "But in the end, we just did not finish. And you have to finish."

Arizona continued to ride a highly efficient passing attack orchestrated by Warner, who had his third 300-yard game in a row. He was 32-for-42 for 328 yards and three TDs.

The 49ers fell to 2-7 but showed signs that Singletary, in his second game as coach, is having an effect.

Chief among those signs was Hill's hard-nosed scramble on third-and-11 late in the second quarter. He lowered his shoulders and lunged for a first down, losing his helmet. The 49ers scored on the drive and led 21-13 after the first half, which began with Allen Rossum's 104-yard kickoff return for a 49ers touchdown. (c) Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. <>