The 49ers wrapped up a 23-7 victory today and improved to 9-1 for the first time since 1997. That was also the last time the 49ers won eight straight games. That 1997 team won 11 straight in what happened to be Steve Mariucci's first season as head coach.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers are putting up victories at an impressive pace that is up there with Mariucci and another decent rookie coach, George Seifert. In 1989, George Seifert's 49ers went 14-2 en route to a Super Bowl victory. Mariucci's 1997 49ers went 13-3 and lost to Green Bay in the divisonal round of the playoffs after beating Minnesota in the first round.
One of the better notes from today's game? The 49ers secured their first winning record since 2002. The team has put together an 8-8 season in 2009 and three different 7-9 seasons. There were times we thought the 49ers were on the way up, only to get slapped back down. There is still a long way to go in the 2011 NFL season, but 2011 San Francisco 49ers are making some magic right now.
My favorite stat of the day in spite of the final score was the fact that the 49ers offense had the ball for 44:16 of the 60:00 game. That's the most lopsided TOP against the Cardinals and marked the third highest time of possession number since StatsPass started tracking it in 1981. It would have been nice to get a couple more touchdowns, but a win is a win. I'd much rather have a team struggling in the red zone than a team punting every which way.
Head after the jump for a whole host of random stats from the game.
- The 49ers have won eight consecutive games, making Coach Harbaugh's eight-game winning streak the fourth longest by a rookie head coach since the 1970 NFLAFL merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Jim Caldwell's Colts won 14 in a row in 2009. Steve Mariucci's 49ers won 11 in a row in 1997. Ted Marchibroda's Colts won nine in a row in 1975. Bobby Ross' Chargers won seven straight in 1992.
- San Francisco improved to 9-1 for the first time since 1997 and recorded their first eight-game winning streak since 1997.
- The Niners improved their overall series record vs. the Cardinals to 24-16, including 14-8 at Candlestick Park.
- The Niners matched the longest winning streak (5 games) against the Cardinals in franchise history (9/14/80-10/18/87 and 10/24/93-12/21/02).
- With a 9-1 record to start 2011, the 49ers are tied for the 4th best start since the team joined the NFL in 1950, behind 1984 (15-1); 1990 (13-1); 1997 (11-1); 1989 (9-1).
- Win a 9-1 record, the 49ers have secured their first winning season since 2002 (10-6).
· The 49ers offense held the ball for 44:16 in the game vs. Arz., marking the highest time of possession for the team since 11/3/02 at Oak. (44:33 - 49ers 23, Raiders 20) and the highest by any team in the NFL this season.
· Since 1981 when the stat was first tracked by Statspass, the 44:16 time of possession is the 3rd highest by the 49ers.
· Dating back to last season, the 49ers defense has not allowed a rushing TD in 11 consecutive games, which ranks t-2nd in team history.
· The49ershad a +4 turnover differential (3 INTs, 2 FRs - 1 INT) vs. the Cardinals, marking the highest single-game turnover differential since 12/12/10 vs. Sea. +5 (4 INTs, 1 FR - 0 turnovers). The team now has a +17 differential this year.
· Since 2009, the 49ers are 20-2 when winning the turnover battle, including 8-1 this season.
· The 49ers defense did not allow a first down in 7 of the Cardinals 12 possessions (4 three-and-outs, 2 INTs and 1 FF).
· The 49ers did not allow a sack in the game vs. the Cardinals, marking the 3rd time this season the team has accomplished this feat.
· The 49ers defense has registered an INT in 9 of the first 10 games to start the 2011 season, marking the most games by a 49ers defense with an interception through the first 10 games of the season since 1996.
· With 3 INTs today, the 49ers defense became the first 49ers defense to record at least 5 multi-INT games in their first 10 since the 1988 San Francisco 49ers recorded 6 during the same span.
Stuck Like Glue
· LB Patrick Willis notched his first INT of the season and 5th of his career after picking off Cardinals QB John Skelton in the 1st qtr. The INT was his first INT since 12/27/09 vs. Det.
· Willis registered his 4th FF of the season and 12th of his career after stripping Cardinals RB Beanie Wells in the 1st qtr. His 4 FFs rank t-1st in the NFL.
· Willis' 4 FFs on the season marks a career high, besting his previous season total of 3 in 2009.
· Since 1994 when FF were first tracked by Statspass, Patrick Willis has 12 FFs which ranks 2nd among all 49ers, trailing only DE Roy Barker (13).
Turning ‘Em Over
· S Donte Whitner recovered a loose ball marking his 2nd FR of the season and 3rd of his career.
· In the 3rd qtr., Whitner recorded his 2nd INT of the season and 7th of his career. He returned the INT 48 yds., marking the second longest return of his career (76 yds. for a TD - 9/20/09 vs. TB).
· The 49ers defense has 15 INTs on the season, which ranks t-2nd in the NFL.
· S Dashon Goldson notched his 3rd INT of the season and 8th of his career after picking off Skelton in the 3rd qtr.
· Willis tallied 3 PDs vs. Arz., giving him 11 PDs on the season which sets a new career high and ranks 2nd in the NFL among linebackers.
· LB Ahmad Brooks registered his 6th sack of the season and 19th of his career after bringing down Cardinals QB John Skelton in the 1st qtr.
· Rookie LB Aldon Smith registered his 7.5 sack of the season after taking down Cardinals QB Richard Bartel in the 4th qtr. Smith ranks 2nd in the NFL in sacks among rookies behind Broncos LB Von Miller (9.5).
Willing and Able
· WR Kyle Williams set career-highs in both recepts. (5) and receiving yds. (54).
· Williams caught his 2nd career TD recept. in the 3rd qtr. on an 8-yd. pass from QB Alex Smith. The TD pass by Smith was his 12th of the season and 63rd of his career.
Back for More
· QB Alex Smith tossed his 13th TD of the season and 64th of his career on a 18-yd. catch to TE Vernon Davis. The TD recept. by Davis now ranks him 1st in franchise history for the most TD recepts. among TEs (Brent Jones), with 34 career TDs.
· In his past 9 starts at home, Smith has compiled an 8-1 record, 1,886 passing yds., 16 TDs, 3 INTs and a 100.2 QB rating.
What a Weapon
· K David Akers tallied 11 pts. vs. Arz., bringing his season total to 102 pts., which ranks 1st in the NFL.
· WR Michael Crabtree hauled in 7 recepts. for 120 yds. marking his first 100-yd. receiving performance since 12/26/10 at StL. and 3rd of his career.
Picking It Up
· CB Chris Culliver forced his first career fumble after stripping Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson on a punt return. LB NaVorro Bowman picked up the loose ball, registering his 3rd career FR and first on special teams.
Extending Their Streaks
· TE/LS Brian Jennings has now played in 186 consecutive games.
· DT Justin Smith has now started 165 consecutive games, dating back to his rookie season in 2001. Smith's consecutive start streak ranks 3rd among defensive players and 5th among all NFL players.
· TE Vernon Davis has now started 69 consecutive games, which ranks 3rd in the NFL among TE's behind Tony Gonzalez (80) and Jason Witten (77).