Cardinals fumble chances

Arizona Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and fumbles the ball in the first quarter of an NFL football game Monday in San Francisco.<br><I>Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - The Arizona Cardinals lost their discipline and a chance to clinch a second straight NFC West crown. They threw the ball away, and they fumbled it even more.

Alex Smith threw touchdown passes after two of Arizona's seven turnovers, Frank Gore ran for 167 yards and another score and the San Francisco 49ers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a dominanting 24-9 victory Monday night.

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