Cardinals
49ers
26 - 20 Final
  for this game

Leinart, Rackers help Cardinals end 49ers playoff hopes

Dec 25, 2006 - 2:10 AM SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- The Arizona Cardinals closed the book on the San Francisco 49ers' playoff aspirations.

Rookie Matt Leinart passed for a touchdown before leaving with an injury and Neil Rackers made four field goals as the Cardinals posted a 26-20 victory over the 49ers in a battle of NFC West rivals.

The loss officially eliminated San Francisco (6-9) from postseason contention and clinched the NFC West title for Seattle.

"There's obviously a frustration that comes with being 6-9 and out of the playoff hunt," Niners coach Mike Nolan said. "We put ourselves in a position to have a chance. Our goal was the same as it was last year. It was a lofty goal last year, and that was to win the West.

"We were also trying to accomplish the best record in the division at 4-2. We weren't able to do that either. We'll end up 3-3 in the division. It's progress, but not the progress we would like."

Leinart completed 9-of-13 passes for 162 yards, including a six-yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald in the second quarter, as Arizona (6-9) built a 17-3 lead.

Leinart went to the locker room with just over two minutes to go in the first half due to a strained left shoulder and did not return. He will miss the season finale at San Diego.

"Leinart's got a sprained AC (shoulder joint) and we don't know how serious it is," Arizona coach Dennis Green said. "We are optimistic though that it won't require any work."

Backup Kurt Warner, who replaced Leinart, went 9-of-13 for 105 yards for Arizona, which got 105 yards on the ground from Edgerrin James.

James reached the 1,000-yard plateau for the fourth straight season and the sixth time in his career.

"Under the circumstances it means a lot (1,000 yards)," James said. "At first I didn't look at it as a big deal, but then you realize what's happened around here and how rare it is. It's a big accomplishment."

Rackers kicked field goals of 25 and 39 yards in the first half when the Cards built a 20-6 advantage.

Frank Gore scored on a two-yard run with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, pulling the 49ers within 20-13.

However, Rackers made field goals of 37 and 32 yards in the final quarter to extend the led to 26-13 after consecutive turnovers by the Niners.

"We dug a hole in the first half," Nolan said. "We came out in the second half and started to turn things around, but then we turned the ball over and that was the difference."

"The turnovers really cost us. Those are mistakes that we need to learn how to eliminate," 49ers receiver Arnaz Battle said. "Good teams find a way to eliminate those mistakes and win. We're a young team and we're still learning how to do that."

Alex Smith went 18-of-29 for 190 yards with one interception. His fourth-down completion to Battle set up Gore's second rushing touchdown with five minutes left.

"You can't be satisfied with what we did this season," said Gore, who was named a Pro Bowler earlier this week. "We had an opportunity to go further, and came up short. It's disappointing."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 10 10 0 6 26
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 3 7 7 20 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - FG, JOE NEDNEY 49 YD, 4:41. Drive: 7
    plays, 37 yards in 4:41. Key plays:
    Gore 11-yard run to San Francisco
    43; Gore 15-yard run to Arizona 42;
    Smith 15-yard pass to Battle to
    Arizona 27

    Dec 24 7:07 PM
  • 16
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 8 roots

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 7:03 PM


  • NFL
    TD SFO
    FRANK GORE 1 YD RUN
    (JOE NEDNEY KICK)
    ARIZONA 26
    SAN FRANCISCO 20 5:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 6:54 PM
  • 16
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 8 roots

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 6:54 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 32 YD
    ARIZONA 26
    SAN FRANCISCO 13 8:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 6:43 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 37 YD
    ARIZONA 23
    SAN FRANCISCO 13 14:57 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 6:23 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 10 10 0 20
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 3 7 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - FG, JOE NEDNEY 49 YD, 4:41. Drive: 7
    plays, 37 yards in 4:41. Key plays:
    Gore 11-yard run to San Francisco
    43; Gore 15-yard run to Arizona 42;
    Smith 15-yard pass to Battle to
    Ari

    Dec 24 6:21 PM


  • NFL
    TD SFO
    FRANK GORE 2 YD RUN
    (JOE NEDNEY KICK)
    ARIZONA 20
    SAN FRANCISCO 13 6:25 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 6:08 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 10 10 20
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 3 6 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - FG, JOE NEDNEY 49 YD, 4:41. Drive: 7
    plays, 37 yards in 4:41. Key plays:
    Gore 11-yard run to San Francisco
    43; Gore 15-yard run to Arizona 42;
    Smith 15-yard pass to Battle to
    Arizona

    Dec 24 5:33 PM


  • NFL
    FG SFO
    JOE NEDNEY 32 YD
    ARIZONA 20
    SAN FRANCISCO 6 0:22 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 5:30 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 39 YD
    ARIZONA 20
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 1:57 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 5:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    LARRY FITZGERALD 6 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 17
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 8:07 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 4:57 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 10 10
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: SFO - FG, JOE NEDNEY 49 YD, 4:41. Drive: 7
    plays, 37 yards in 4:41. Key plays:
    Gore 11-yard run to San Francisco
    43; Gore 15-yard run to Arizona 42;
    Smith 15-yard pass to Battle to
    Ari

    Dec 24 4:42 PM


  • NFL
    TD ARI
    MARCEL SHIPP 5 YD RUN
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 10
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 0:59 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 4:36 PM


  • NFL
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 25 YD
    ARIZONA 3
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 7:41 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 4:20 PM


  • NFL
    FG SFO
    49 YD
    ARIZONA 0
    SAN FRANCISCO 3 10:19 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals vs. 49ersDec 24 4:12 PM