Brian Westbrook, whose career seemed to have hit a dead end in San Francisco, showed up as his old self Monday night in the 49ers win over the Cardinals. Westbrook looked like he was in his prime with the Eagles darting through holes in the middle of the line and scoring his first touchdown of the season in a 27-6 San Francisco victory.
This was a Monday Night game because these two teams were expected to rule the NFC West and be on course for the playoffs in Week 12. Both are disappointments. San Francisco is 4-7. Arizona is 3-8.
The shocker: The 49ers are a game out of first place in the NFC West.
Some thoughts on the game:
• Frank Gore, as big a workhorse as there is in the NFL, carried 5 times for 52 yards early in the game and then left with a hip injury. It doesn't seem possible the 49ers could thrive on offense without him, but they did. Enter Westbrook. The former star for the Eagles, who came into the game with five rushing attempts this season and just nine yards, had 66 yards rushing in the first half with a touchdown. He was elusive and darted though slight holes in the line. Westbrook finished with 136 yards on 23 carries. Where has he been?
• Mike Johnson, who took over as offensive coordinator after the 49ers poor start to the season, told reporters that he could not afford to take Gore off the field for 15 plays a game for Westbrook to get turns with the ball. Gore did too many things, from running to receiving to pass protection. Johnson had no choice when Gore left in the first half with the hip injury and did not return. What happens with Westbrook now? Johnson said he also can't take No. 2 tight end Delanie Walker off the field because he is playing so well.
• There is a big sign at one end of the Cardinals field: Red Zone. The first half, when the 49ers were taking control of the game, was a tale of the red zone. The 49ers scored two touchdowns with trips into the red zone. The Cardinals got two field goals on two trips into the red zone. San Francisco led 21-6 at the intermission. If you can run the ball, red zone offense shows up. If you can't, it's field goals. The 49ers had 128 yards rushing in the first half; the Cardinals had 13 for the entire night, the lowest total in 845 games for the Cardinals.
• The 49ers came into the game having converted just 3 of their past 25 third-down plays. They were 7 of 13 on Monday night.
• The Cardinals were without defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle), who was inactive. Then defensive end Darnell Dockett left the game with a shoulder injury in the first period. Arizona proceeded to get blown off the ball by the 49ers offensive line.
• The Cardinals tried to line up with backups, Alan Branch, a fourth-year pro, and rookie Dan Williams, the team's first-round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee. They got shoved around. Dockett got back in the game, but the shoving around continued.
• The 49ers lost center David Baas, who was hit the jaw and held out for precautionary reasons. It was called a head injury.
• Joe Nedney, the 49ers kicker, could not play because of a right knee injury. Shane Andrus, who was signed Nov. 17, was the designated kicker for San Francisco. Andrus did not get a chance to kick in a 21-0 loss to Tampa Bay last week, but he got a shot at a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter Monday night against the Cardinals and missed.
• The 49ers, however, got the ball right back on a sudden change with an Arizona fumble. That's what the Cardinals do. They came into the game having committed 26 turnovers, the third most in the NFL. On the other hand, the 49ers had collected just 12 turnovers this season. It was their night.
• San Francisco took the fumble by Beanie Wells and scored on a 38-yard pass from Troy Smith to Michael Crabtree. The touchdown was set up nicely. The 49ers, on the previous series, ran and ran and ran. The touchdown pass came on play-action. The 49ers made it look like a run with a pulling guard and Crabtree ran a skinny post right past coverage.
• Andrus, who had been working out at his home in Murray, Ky., missed field goals of 47 and 37 yards before kicking a 38-yarder in the third period, his first career field goal. He then kicked a 26-yarder in the fourth.
• The Cardinals had six points after three quarters because of a rotten passing game, as usual. Quarterback Derek Anderson was 10 of 22 with an interception. The Cardinals came into the game completing 53.2 percent, the second lowest percentage in the NFL.
• The NFL is a quarterback league. The Cardinals are in ruins because of poor quarterback play. The fact Matt Leinart did not materialize as a pro has been a significant loss for the franchise.
Watch highlights from Sunday's games: