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The Setup
Both teams desperately needed a win. Niners were 0 & 3 coming off the wrong end of a a high-scoring nailbiter vs. the Rams. Cards were 1 & 2 after a sloppy-looking loss to the Cowboys. Card were still trying to learn how to cope with "Life Without David Johnson" and OL was missing 3 starters. The Niners were still adapting to the new coaching program of Kyle Shanahan.

The Lede
Cards a 18 -15 OT Winner

The Bottom Line:
Both teams played four quarters trading field goal for field goal, tying the score 15 - 15 at the end of regulation. Niners kicked a FG with 2:24 left to go in OT, but the new regulations covering overtime mandates that, unless the winner of the coin flip scores a TD on their first possession, the other team must be given the chance to use their possession to tie the score or win the game. (The only exception being if time ran out in the 10:00 OT period.

Which almost happened - except that Carson Palmer managed to hit Larry FItzgerald in the end zone on an inside slant from 19 yards out or the winning score with just 0:38 on the clock.

Game Recap
As usual, Cards came out blazing and made it to the Niner 4, where Palmer threw a pick in the end zone. Not only did we not get the TD; we didn't even get the 3-pts. (The log doesn't show it but I believe that somewhere , the Cards had a TD called back due to a penalty). Niners retaliated with a 49-yd Gould FG. NIners 3 - Cards 0.

Cards moved to the Niner 12 in 9 plays where the drive was derailed by the reversal of a TD pass to Ellington. Dawson was good from 29. Cards 3 - Niners 3..

Niners came right back with a 12-play drive leading to a 39-yard Gould FG. Niners 6 - Cards 3.

Cards couldn't move past the Niner 39 in 10 plays. Next Niner possession was derailed by a Bethea interception. 1:54 left til haltime (Witching Hour for Carson Palmer). Cards moved 5 yds from the Niner 30 to the 25 where Dawson tied the score with a a 43-yarder. Niners 6 - Cards 6.

That was all the scoring in the First Half.

In the second

First third-quarter possession led to a Niner FG. to make it Niners 9 - Cards 6. Cards caqme right back to make it 9 - 9 when Dawson was good from 50. Gould came right back on the next series with a 48-yarder to make it 12 - 9 Niners. But the Cards couldn't answer and gave up possession early in the 4th quarter. But the Cardinal defense stiffened, kept the Niners off the board so that, on the next Cardinal possession, Dawson was good from 32, with the score tied 12 - 12. The rest of the game was all defense (well, that plus the officials) with each team exchanging three 3 & outs and SF adding a 4th before the regulation time ran out.

Game went into OT, Niners held onto the ball for 17 plays before the Card red zone defense stiffened at the Cardinal 8 and Gould had to kick a 23-yarder to make it 15 - 12 Niners.

As recently as a year ago, this would have won the game for the Niners, but the new League rules require that as long as there was still time left in OT, the Cardinals had to be given one chance to either tie or win the game. Which is what happened. Cards scored the winning TD on their next possession with 0:38 left on the clock. Cards 18 - Niners 15.

1st Quarter
  • TB on KO. Palmer moved the Cards to the Niner 4 on 12 plays before his pass for Gresham was picked off. Niners took over on their own 20 but both teams were held to 3 & outs. Niners tookover on their own 24 and moved to the Card 31 in 9 plays before Gould booted his first FG - a 49 yarder. Niners 3 - Cards 0

    TB on KO. Cards moved to the Niner 37 as the quarter ended,

    1st Quarter Score: Niners 3 - Cards 0.

2nd Quarter
  • Cards made it all the way to the Niner 5 before a 12-yd TD pass to Ellington was reversed (it was that kind of game) and the Cards had to sette for a 29 yd. Dawson FG on the 9th play of the drive. Niners 3 - Cards 3.

    Niners mounted a 12 play drive before Gould boomed a 39 yarder. Niners 6 - Cards 3.

    TB on KO. Palmer moved all the way to the Niner 39 before a Palmer sack forced a Lee punt to the Niner 12, our plays later, Bethea saved the day with an interception of a ball intended for T Taylor before he fell down.Card ball on the Niner 30. Cards only managed to pick up 5 yards and settled for a Dawson FG which tied the score again. Niners 6 - Cards 6.

    Neither team could score in the final 1:24.

    First Half Score: Niners 6 - Cards 6.

3rd Quarter

  • TB on KO. First SF possession led to a 9-pay Niner scoring drive and a 47-yard Gould FG. Niners 9 - Cards 6.

    Cards came right back with a 9-play drive of their own and tied it up with a 50-yd Dawson FG. Niners 9 - Cards 9.

    Niners returned KO to their own 25 and came back with their third-straight 9-yard drive with Gold adding a 48 yarder to his collection. Niners 12 - Cards 9.

    But this time the Cards couldn't respond and punted early in the next quarter.

    Third Quarter Score: Niners 12 - Cards 9

4th Quarter
  • Punt went o-o-b at Niner 25. Cards forced SF into a 3 & out. Punt FC at the Cardinal 36. Palmer moved the Cards to the Niner 14 in 10 plays before Dawson tied the score with a 32 yarder. Niners 12 - Cards 12.

    7:41 left in regulation - The two teams exchanged three 3 & outs apiece. Niners added s fourth one and the Cards ran 2 plays before the end of regulation. Niners 12 - Cards 12


Niners received and returned KO to their own 22. They then mounted a 17 play drive which fizzled out when, inside the Cardinal 10, T Branch stoned Carlos Hyde up the middle for minus-4 yards and forced them to settle for a 23-yard Gould FG to put the Niners ahead. (Drive used up 7:36 of the 10-minute OT period). Niners 15 - Cards 12.

This left the Cards 2:24 to either tie or beat the Niners. TB on KO. Palmer hit Ellington for 2 consecutive +11-yd gains. He then hit Jaron Brown twice in a row for gains of +17 and +11-yds. He then hit Smokey Brown in the right corner of the end zone for a possible TD, but Brown's second foot was considered out of bounds by a toe-nail. Palmer then took a 5-yd sack, was helped out by a defensive PI call on an incompleted pass to Smokey and hit Ellington for +8 to put the ball on the Niner 19 with 0:38 still on the clock. BA then risked the biscuit with Palmer hitting Fitz in the end zone on a skinny post for the game-winner.

Final Score: Cards 18 - Niners 15.

Notable Game Stats.

  • Passing: Palmer was 33 of 51 for 357 yards, 1 TDs and 1 Interception. (Hoyer was 24 of 49, 234 yds, 0 TD's and 1 picks).

  • Rushing: C. Johnson picked up 32 yds on 13 carries. (Hyde gained 68 yds on 16 carries. Breida gained just 16 yds on 9 carries.).
  • Card rush defense gave up 3.3 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 2.3)
  • Receiving: Jaron B caught 18 for 105 yds. Ellington caught 9 for 86 yds. (Hyde and Taylor led the Niners with 5 catches apiece).

    Turnovers: Even. No lost fumbles Each team credited with one pick.

    Penalties: It just seemed that the Cardinals were penalized way too many times (cost us a TD in the 1Q) Cards were penalized 10 times. Niners 13

  • Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 22/49. (SF 27/51)

  • Field Goals:: Dawson and Gould were both 5 for 5.

    Net Punting Yards: Lee averaged 42.0. (SF dude averaged (48.4)

  • Tackles: Mathieu led with 11 tackles followed by Branch (9) and Dansby (5) (Dansby seemed to be more active than the stats indicate)

    Sacks: Palmer was sacked 6 times - Dumerville (2), 4 others - (1 apiece). Mathieu and Pierre each had a sack. Rucker and X Williams each had a half a sack.

    Interceptions: One apiece (Betheafor AZ and Armstrong for SF)

    Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 5 of 16 for 31%. (SF: 5 of 19 for 26%).

    Red Zone Efficiency: Cards were 0 of 3 - 0%. (Niners: 0 of 3 - 0%).

    Time of Possession: Cards 36:15/ Niners 33:13

Bright Spots

  • We're 2 & 2

  • We came back from behind to earn a harldy contested win in a sloppy game.

    The use of Ellington as a receiver probably saved the game.

    Fitz proved once again that he's "money" with the game on the line.

    Dawson rebounded to kick 5 straight.

TheDark Side

  • Officials - Since we won, it's fair to blame them. Just having a total of 23 penalties overall seems a bit chippy. The reversal of Ellington's TD catch and John Brown's OT TD being ruled out of bounds were biggies. At least two nifty Cardinal runs were nullified by holding calls.

  • Pass Pro - Palmer sacked 6 times. Almost entirely on his pass blockers - With the exception of the 1Q pick on the pass for Gresham, Carson avoided doing anything really dumb.

  • Run Blocking - None of our backs broke 35 yds

  • Misdirection - SF dialed up a lot of plays off waggles, with Hoyer looking one way and throwing the other - or various fakes off that action. Card defenders bit nearly every time.

Last Word:
The roller coaster ride continues.

Cards demonstrated that they are capable of winning this and every game we play, but what they haven't yet proved is that they can go out and do it game after game.

Next week, Philly willl be no pushover, and too many key players are filing medical claims each week. (Getting our OL to protect Palmer and open holes for our RB Trio will remain a challenge).

But at least we're 2 & 2 going up against the Iggles.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012