Crucial losses to San Francisco add motivation to Cardinals

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers won five games a year ago. Two of them came against Arizona, excruciatingly close losses that prevented the Cardinals from winning a spot in the playoffs.

Those games are fresh memories to the Cardinals as they prepare for Sunday's season opener at San Francisco.

Arizona opened its season in San Francisco a year ago and it was the debut of the Cardinals under new coach Ken Whisenhunt.

They took a 17-13 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Matt Leinart to Anquan Boldin with 6:40 to play.

The 49ers needed an 86-yard scoring drive to win it behind quarterback Alex Smith, who had an awful game up until then.

The rematch came in Game 11 in Glendale on November 25th.

Kurt Warner directed an 81-yard drive to the San Francisco 1 where Neil Rackers' 19-yard field goal as the fourth quarter ended forced overtime.

Rackers made a 25-yard field goal that would have been the game-winner in overtime, but it was nullified by a delay-of-game penalty.

Pushed five yards back, Rackers missed the subsequent 32-yard attempt.

The game finally ended when Warner fumbled in the Arizona end zone