John Skelton replaced the injured Kevin Kolb and tossed three touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals posted their fifth win in six games with a 21-19 home triumph over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
After tossing scoring strikes to Early Doucet and Larry Fitzgerald, Skelton completed Arizona's rally from a 12-point deficit with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts at the 3:10 mark of the fourth quarter. The Cardinals (6-7) have won three in a row and avenged a 23-7 loss to the 49ers on Nov. 20.
With the loss, NFC West champion San Francisco (10-3) pulled into a tie with the New Orleans Saints (10-3) for second place in the conference and a potential first-round bye in the postseason. The Saints collected their fifth straight win with a 22-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day.
Kolb exited the contest in the first quarter after he was hit from behind by linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Skelton found a familiar target in Fitzgerald, who reeled in seven catches for 149 yards, highlighted by his 46-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
After tossing three interceptions in the team's earlier meeting, Skelton overcame two picks on Sunday to complete 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards.
Frank Gore went nearly untouched on a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter and David Akers connected on four of five field goal attempts for San Francisco.
Safety Dashon Goldson collected his fifth interception in seven games and returned the ball to the Arizona 16 with 1:10 remaining in the second quarter. It led to Akers' fourth field goal and a 12-7 lead at halftime.