49ers strike first in Arizona

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Alex Smith did his best to erase any doubts about the 49ers early on Monday night in Arizona.

Smith, who has been the subject of increasing criticism as the 49ers’ offense has stalled in recent weeks, looked smooth and efficient in running the 49ers’ offense in the early going in Arizona. Smith completed his first six passes, for 50 yards, with the last one going to Michael Crabtree in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown.

The 49ers are also getting a good showing from their running backs, Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, both of whom had big runs on the 49ers’ 10-play, 87-yard scoring drive in the first quarter.

Cardinals quarterback John Skelton is going to have his hands full against the 49ers’ defense. And he’s going to have to turn in a big game if Smith keeps up his early pace.