|ESPN.com: NFC West||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
PHOENIX -- The Cardinals can exhale after opening a four-game lead in the NFC West without playing anywhere near its best against an inferior opponent.
Arizona's penchant for penalties and unforced mistakes might bring down the Cardinals when the stakes are higher. But the 29-24 victory was all that mattered Monday night. The Cardinals take a 6-3 record into Seattle with enough breathing room in the division to stumble as the schedule gets tougher in the coming weeks.
The 49ers were moral victors in this one, which beats their recent fate. Mike Singletary's influence on the offense was obvious and beneficial. Quarterback Shaun Hill made a critical turnover late, but he ran the offense far more efficiently than predecessor J.T. O'Sullivan.
San Francisco can build on this performance as long as Frank Gore's injury isn't serious.