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John Brown Smokes Niners

Notebook: Rookie receiver scores twice; Kelly with big block; Cromartie hurts knee


Wide receiver John Brown hauls in the second of his two touchdown receptions Sunday against the 49ers.

Financial realities kept John Brown's mom away from all but one of his college football games.

She watched him live for the first time in the NFL on Sunday, and if Brown keeps playing like this, he'll be able to fly her out whenever he desires. The rookie wideout continued the hot start to his promising NFL career against the 49ers, finishing the contest with four catches for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Brown created distance between himself and his defender for the pair of easy scores, taking advantage of favorable

matchups as San Francisco directed its focus toward his veteran teammates.

"People are watching Mike (Floyd) and Larry (Fitzgerald)," Brown said. "Once they pull down, they basically give me one-on-one coverage because I'm new."

Brown developed a rapport with starting quarterback Carson Palmer this offseason but even the switch to backup Drew Stanton hasn't thrown him off. In addition to the crucial touchdown catches, which pulled the Cardinals with one point and then gave them the lead, Brown drew a pass interference penalty on third down on the team's game-clinching final drive.

There have been a few growing pains early on, but Brown's elite speed has made him an immediate impact player.

"If you blink, he might be on the other side of you, and it's over," Stanton said.

The rookie they call "Smokey" is now averaging a touchdown catch per game after hauling in the game-winner in the opener against the Chargers. He preceded Stanton and coach Bruce Arians at the press conference podium, and while he laughed and said "no one knows me" when asked about teams worrying about him on the field, that seems to be changing quickly.

"Johnny is getting better and better," Arians said.


The 49ers went over 100 yards in penalties for the second straight week, finishing with nine for 107, and it contributed to another loss. San Francisco was whistled for three 15-yard personal foul penalties in the third quarter as the game


The first two – unnecessary roughness on linebacker Dan Skuta and roughing the passer on linebacker Patrick Willis --  aided the Cardinals as they drove for the go-ahead score, and a headbutt by wide receiver Anquan Boldin to Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson backed the 49ers from a 1st-and-goal at the 6 to a 1st-and-10 at the 21.

Boldin, who admitted he should've been flagged for the headbutt, was not happy with the calls following the game.

"Look at the amount of calls we got, the times we got them, the personal fouls, hitting the quarterback," Boldin said. "Guys are taking perfect shots at the quarterback. Both of those (calls). If you look at it, it's unbelievable. Then we'll send the tape in and they'll tell us, 'We made a mistake.' Yet, they got 30 yards down the field. Some of those are coming at crucial points – third down when our defense is getting off the field. Now it's first-and-10. It is what it is. They'll say we had a lot to do with it, which we did. We could have played better here and there. It's crazy."

The Cardinals were penalized five times for 36 yards.


The Cardinals had all the momentum in the second half, but the 49ers threatened to pull within three points when Phil Dawson lined up for a 45-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Justin Bethel nearly blocked it coming off the edge, and then defensive tackle Tommy Kelly did get his arm on the ball while rushing up the middle.

"I have a nice little red mark (on the forearm)," Kelly said. "It feels good, though."

It preserved the Cardinals' 20-14 lead and was the team's 19th blocked kick since 2008, tops in the NFL.

"When you hear the dreaded double thud, it seldom is a good thing," 49ers kicker Phil Dawson said.

The Cardinals, by the way, only had nine men on the field on the play.


Cornerback Antonio Cromartie left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter. In a postgame interview he said the knee was hyperextended and didn't know the severity, but followed up on Twitter later in the evening.

"Thank you guys for your prayers," he tweeted. "But I'm fine will b ready for the week 5 matchup vs the @Broncos."

Jerraud Powers and Bethel saw an increase in playing time in Cromartie's absence.

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