GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was a 3rd-and-8 from midfield and
Moss darted away from a pair of Cardinal defenders before racing down the left sideline for his second touchdown catch of the year and first in seven weeks.
“As soon as he shook them, I just put my hands up in the air,” Boone said. “I was excited.”
Moss’ 47-yard touchdown was one of many standout plays in San Francisco’s 24-3 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
But it wasn’t the play that made Boone most proud.
Besides catching a touchdown, Moss leveled Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes deep downfield to help
Rhodes went immediately to the ground, a play that symbolized the 49ers’ all-out effort on “Monday Night Football.”
“I was even more excited when he threw that block on Rhodes – he blasted him,” Boone said. “For Randy to be taking people out like that, that says a lot. He is a team player and I think he’s a great person.
“People said he can’t play anymore, but he’s shaking guys for touchdowns – blasting safeties. That’s just the type of guy he is, tough and hard-nosed.”
In turn, Moss credited his offensive line for helping him score his 156th career touchdown, tied for the fourth-most in NFL history.
Moss noted that the five-receiver set the 49ers ran on his touchdown play put the offensive line in a tough position.
“We didn’t really have the edge protected,” Moss noted.
It didn’t matter.
“The o-line protected, the quarterback delivered, I caught it, ran, had some blocks downfield and it was as simple as that,” said Moss, summing up his 18th touchdown catch in 19 Monday night appearances.
With the veteran wideout proving “he’s still got it,” according to safety
“People have asked me if he’s still fast and he showed it out there,” Goldson said. “He got open, broke like two-to-three tackles and took it to the end zone. That was big-time.”
San Francisco picked up 232 passing yards and three touchdowns on the night from Alex Smith, who also completed two impressive touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree.
All the perimeter plays were key in the latest 49ers win.
“Moss, he showed he can still run and he made a big play when we needed it,” safety
Whitner was also happy for his defensive teammates who allowed just 7 rushing yards to Arizona.
“We had a goal,” Whitner began, “we wanted to be relentless and we wanted to show everybody that we’re the top defense in the National Football League and I think you saw that tonight.”
In Whitner’s eyes, the performance was especially moving based on how it ended. With Arizona in search of a late touchdown, the 49ers defense turned Arizona over on downs when Larry Fitzgerald was tackled short of the end zone on 4th-and-goal.
“My hat goes off to the guys in this room for not letting them in on that fourth down,” Whitner said. “We didn’t want them to cross that line – we didn’t want to give up a touchdown.
“That shows the character that we have in our room. You know you have the game won by three touchdowns, but the character in our room, we won’t allow it and that’s why they didn’t get in.”
San Francisco’s physical safeties Whitner and Goldson continued their imposing play throughout the game. At one point, Goldson’s clean, over-the-middle hit on Cardinals wideout Early Doucet stood out as one of the hardest hits of the game.
“On any given Sunday if you come across the middle either me or Dashon will hit you and it’s as simple as that,” Whitner warned. “They’re going to be clean, legal hits and we’re going to be physical. Teams know that when they put on film.”
After avenging last season’s road loss to Arizona, the 49ers improved to 7-1 against the NFC West under Jim Harbaugh. At 6-2 for the season, San Francisco won six of its first eight games for the second consecutive season for the first time since 2001-02 seasons.
“We gained some momentum, we’re up two games in the division right now. We’re healthy, we have a bye week this week so everything’s in our favor,” Whitner said before catching himself.
“But when it starts to look like that, we have to reach to work harder and make sure we come back fresh from the bye week ready.”
Road wins are always appreciated in the NFL, this was no different.
“I think it was good football today,” Boone concluded. “That was a tough team, they fought hard. We got a win in their house, that’s big for us. It’s a loud stadium and it’s good to get a win heading into the bye week.”
Following a San Francisco Giants World Series win,
“Shout-out to the Giants, World Series win,” said Smith who now has 7.5 sacks on the year. “Hopefully they saw that.”
Smith said he and the 49ers defense knew they had to take advantage of opportunities – 52 of them to be exact.
That’s how many passes Arizona quarterback John Skelton attempted on the day. With that many chances to rush the passer, the 49ers totaled four sacks on the day.
“Everybody was able to get back there (behind the line of scrimmage) and make some plays today,” said Smith, who now has 21.5 career sacks in 24 games. “It’s definitely better to go into this bye week with a win than a loss. We’ve got to take this momentum and keep rolling, keep winning.”