Rapid Reaction: 49ers 20, Cardinals 16

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals might still win the NFC West this season, but their division rivals will make them work harder for the crown.

The 49ers avoided the crushing mistakes that marked their offense when Mike Martz was coordinator. They didn't always play to win the game, but they certainly weren't going to give it away. That's progress for San Francisco and something the Cardinals could learn from.

Kurt Warner reverted to some of his careless ways when he couldn't find receivers open downfield. He didn't have to compete for his job during preseason and perhaps it showed.

It's only one game for Arizona, but this performance did nothing to erase the feeling that the Cardinals were missing something during the exhibition season.

The 49ers passed the ball effectively when they needed to, another good sign for them. Shaun Hill passed 13 times during the winning 15-play touchdown drive. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye maintained a conservative look with his personnel choices, but the 49ers still managed to move the chains.