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Originally published Monday, September 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Cardinals grind out a 23-13 win over 49ers

Warner passed for 197 yards and led three monotonously effective drives in the second half of the Cardinals' 23-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Associated Press

Sunday

49ers @ Seahawks, 1 p.m., Ch. 13

SAN FRANCISCO — Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals took all the unpredictable fun out of an NFC West rivalry known for some of football's wackiest endings.

Warner passed for 197 yards and led three monotonously effective drives in the second half of the Cardinals' 23-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Anquan Boldin had all of his eight catches for 82 yards in the second half for the Cardinals, who allowed none of the late-game hijinks that cost the Cards both meetings with San Francisco last year. Arizona ground out 12 first downs while holding onto the ball for nearly 23 minutes in the second half.

"To be able to chew up the clock and get first downs and chunk away and get points, it's critical in games like this," said Warner, who went 19 of 30 without an interception.

J.T. O'Sullivan passed for 195 yards in his first NFL start for the 49ers, whose long-woeful offense looked downright competent under new coordinator Mike Martz — when it was able to get its hands on the ball. Frank Gore rushed for 96 yards and San Francisco's only touchdown on an early 41-yard scamper, but the Niners' offense barely got on the field in the second half.

Neil Rackers' third field goal, from 30 yards with 1:57 left, capped an 18-play drive that covered 62 yards in 10:08, draining the life out of Candlestick Park. Rookie Tim Hightower rushed for his first NFL score early in the second half, and Larry Fitzgerald caught a short TD pass.

Before the game, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said he could learn today whether his new shoulder injury will require season-ending surgery. Smith, inactive after feeling the injury Friday, likely will be finished with the 49ers if he needs shoulder surgery for the second straight year.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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