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2018 Regular Season
Preview: Cards @ Niners

Setting the Stage
Both teams lost heart-breakers last week. The Cards whiffing on a late-game FG and the Niners blowing a 14-pt lead.Both teams are hungry for a much-needed victory (the winless Cardinals probably more desperate of the two teams). Niners have been ham-strung by the year-ending injury to Jimmy Garropolo. Cards have decided to force-feed rookie QBOF Josh Rosen.


Niner's 's Last Game
They blew a 14-point early lead - which turned into see-saw battle ending with the Chargers on top Chargers 29 - 27.

First Quarter
Chargers received. TB on KO. On the 3rd play from scrimmage. Exum intercepted a Riverspass for Allen and returned it fo a TD. Niners 7 - Chargers 0.

TB on KO. Chargers went 3 & out. Niners returned punt to their own 14 and went 3 & out. Punt was returned to the Charger 37. They made it to the Niner 36 but had to settle for a FG. Attempt was wide right, and a DPI penalty helped move them to the Charger 2 where Beathard hit Bourne for the second Niner TD. Niners 14 - Chargers 0.

TB on KO. Gains of +18 yds, +22 fyds and +22 yds helped set up a 5-yd Rivers-to-Gaines TD near the end of the quarter but XP was no good. Niners 14 - Chargers 6.

First Quarter Score: Niners 14 - Chargers 6.


Second Quarter
Beathard overcame an aborted snap fumble on the first play of the quarter and put together a 21-play drive which was thwarted at the Charger 3 where the Niners settled for a 21-Yd FG. Niners 17 - Chargers 6.

TB on KO. Rivers moved the Chargers from their own 25 to the Niner 22 where (with 0:53 left on the clock) he hit Ekeler for a 22-yd TD. Niners 17 - Chargers 14.

TB on KO. Niners held to 3 & out. Punt returned 56 yds to the Niner 32. Chargers settled for a 48-yd FG to tie the game at halftime.

Second Quarter Score: Niners 17 - Chargers 17


Third Quarter
TB on KO. Niners held to 3 & out. Punt returned to Charger 49. Completions of +24 yrds and + 13 yds helped move the Chargers to the Niner 6 yd line where Rivers hit M Gordon for a TD. ). Chargers 23 - Niners 17.

KO net penalty gave Niners the ball at their own 10. Beathard opened up the offense with completions for +12 yds and 23 yds, but 3 plays later, his pass for Celek was picked offin the end zone by T Williams and returned 86-yds to the Nner 12. Chargers moved to the Niner 7 before settlling for a 25-yd FG. Chargers 26 - Niners 17.

KO returned to Niner 24 where they were held to 3 & out. Punt returned to the Charger 25. Chargers moved to their own 47 in 5 plays before puntiing. Fair caught at Niner 16. Two plays later, Beathard hit Kittle for an 82-yd TD. Chargers 26 - Niners 24.

TB on KO. Chargers moved to their own 40 in 6 plays before punting. Punt less penalty gave Niners the ball at their own 36. The Niners reached their own47 as the quarter ended.

Third Quarter Score: Chargers 26 - Niners 24.


Fourth Quarter
Niners moved to the Charger 15 before settling for a 33-yd Gould FG. . Niners 27 - Chargers 26.

TB on KO. A 34 yd completion from Rivers to Gordon put the ball at the Niner 3-yd line where Surgis booted a 21-yd FG. Chargers 29 - Niners 27.

KO returned to the Niner 17. Three & out. Punt fair caught at Charger 39. Chargers reached the Niner 37 in fiveplays. Punt downed at the Niner 7. Three plays later, Beathard's pass foor Morriswas interecepted by Rochell and returned to the Niner 19. Chargers milked the remaining 2:31 off the clock.

Final Score: Chargers 29 - Niners 2y


Last Game Stats

Passing - Beathard was 23/37 for 298 yds, 2 TD's and 2 Ints. (Rivers went 25 for 39 for 250 yds, 3 TD's and one pick).

Receving - Kittle (6) and Garcon (4) led SF in receptions.

Rushing - 21 running plays - Breida led the team with 39 yds on 9 receptions. (Beathard was next with 7 running attempts for 19 yds

Fumbles - None lost by either team..

Net Punting Yds - Niners: 30.6; (Chargers 42.3).

Tackles - Warner led with 10 tackles followedby Foster (7) and K Williams (6).

Third Down Efficiency - Niners: (5 of 12) 41%. Chargers (4 of 14) 28%

Net Yards Rushing: Niners: 76 (Chargers: 126.

Sacked - Each team sacked one time (SF: Day/Chargers: James)

Run to Pass Ratio: Niners:21/37 - Chargers 27/39

Turnover Ratio Even (One interception and one fumble recovery apiece).

Niners in a Thumbnail
Biggest Niner newstory ths far this year - the injury to Jimmy Garolpolo. Po

Base.


TEAM STATISTICS TO DATE

                                                Niners             Opponents

Total First Downs                        .....91                     96

Rushing                         ..................28                     23
Passing                         ..................30                     34
Penalty                                    .... ...15                      12

3rd Down Conversions                 15/45               25/58
4th Down Conversions                 2/2                  2/4

Total Offensive Yards                 1550                 1572

Rushing Yards                           534                   417

Rushing YPC                             5.2                   4.0

Passing Yards                           1016                  1155

Comp/Att/Int                              76/126/5  ...103/1666/1

Sacked                                     8                     14

FG                                            10/10                    7/8

TD’s                                          10                      14

Avg Time of Possession ......N/A..................N/A

Turnover Ratio               ........-3


        PLAYER STATS

Passing
Garoppolo 53 of 89 for 718 (59.6%) YPA: 8.07...TD: 5...Int: 3...Sacked: 13 Rating: 9.0 

Rushing:
Morris:
45 for 167...YPA: 3.80
Breida:
41 for 313...YPA: 7.63
Garappolo:
8 for 33...YPA: 4.13 

Receiving:
Kittle: Rec:
18...Yds: 316...YPR: 17.6...TD: 1
Garcon: Rec: 11
...Yds: 141...YPR: 12.3...TD: 0
Breida: Rec:
10...Yds: 85...YPR: 8.5..TD: 0
T Taylor: Rec
9...Yds: 64...YPR: 7.1....TD: 0
Jusczyk: Rec:
8..Yds: 122..YPR: 15.3...TD 1
Bourne: Rec 5.
..Yds: 65...YPR: 13.0...TD: 3

Tackles:
Warner:
32
Lee:
14
Witherspoon:
12
K Williams:
12
R Foster:
11
Bucknner:
11  

Sack Leaders:
Buckner:
3.5 (Next highest: 1).

Interception Leaders:
Exum
1
                 


Niner Offense
Quarterbacks
QB ..03 Beathard...04 Mullens

Running Backs
RB.....22 Brieda...46 Morris...31 Mostart
FB....44 Juszzyk

Wide Receivers
WR1....15 Garcon...18 Pettis...84 Bourne
WR2 ...11 Goodwin...81 T Taylor...13 R James

Tight Ends
TE......88 Celek...85 Kittle...89 Wick

Offensive Line
LT.......74 Staley...78 Coleman
LG    ..75 Tomlinson...66 Toran
OC    .58 Richberg...62 Magnuson
RG......68 Person...65 Garnett
RT    ..69 McGlinchey...76 Gilliam

Cardinal Defense

Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa, xx Z Moore,
DT - 90 Nkemdiche, 72 Pierre, G Smith
NT - 98 Peters, 95 Gunter
DE- 55 C Jones, 96 J Smith

Linebackers
SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck
MLB - 57 Bynes, 51 Hodges
WILL - 20 Bucannon, 47 Turner

Defensive Backs
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams, 39 Nichols
RCB - 28 J Taylor, 23 Benwikere
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston
, 40 Tillman*


Matchup: Niner Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
It's Beathard throwing to mainly Garcon and his TE Kittle. Beathard comes across as a system-QB with a similar skill-set to Cardinal rookie (Rosen). Niners are on the wrong side of an 8 - 14 sack ratio. Beathard picked off 7 times (vs. 5 for opponents). Kittle (82 yd TD vs. Chargers) must considered a deep threat.

Cardinal "Killer B" safeties (Bethea, Baker and Boston) are active in pass coverage. Peterson is a legitimate Pro Bowl "lock down" corner. Benwikere appears to be winning the battle to start at #2 CB opposite PP21.

Cardinal pass rush (C Jones, Golden, Nkemdiche et al) must be considered a strength of the team. Niner blockers have experience in Staley, Richberg & Co.

Key Matchups: Garcon vs. Peterson,. Bucannon vs. Kittle; C Jones Golden, Nkemdiche vs. Niner OL


Matchup: Niner Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Niner runners lead their opponents in total yards, 534 to 417. Leading ball carriers are Morris and Breida with Beathard scrambling more than you'd normally like your QB to do.

Cardinal tacklers were repeatedly beaten to the edge by Seattle RB's. And once contact was made,our guys had trouble putting their guys on the turf.

Key Matchups: Brieda and Morris vs Bynes and C Peters. Beathard vs. Bucannon


Cardinal Offense

Quarterbacks
03 Rosen, 09 Bradford, 07 Glennon

Running Back
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 13 Kirk, 16 Sherfield
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson,

Tight Ends
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 85 Holmes, 84 Gresham,

Offensive Line
LT- 74 Humphries, 73 Wetzel, (79 Cunningham)
LG - 76 Iupati, 68 Vujnovich,
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
RG- 67 Pugh, (68 Vujnovich)
RT - 71 A Smith, 75 Clausell, 79 Cunningham


Niner Defense

Defensive Line
LDE......94S Thomas...54 Marsh
LDT.....90 Mitchell...93 DJ Jones
RDT......99 Buckner...96 Day

DE....91 Armstead...98 Blair...77 J Taylor

Linebackers
SAM....51 M Smith...53 Nzeocha
MIKE...48 Warner...47 Lee
WILL..56 R Forster

Defensive Backs
LCB.....25 Sherman...20 Ward...24 K Williams
RCB....23 Witherspoon...26 Mabin...33 Moore
FS .....27 Colbert...32 Reed Jr
SS......29 Tartt...38 Exum...30 Powell


Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Niner Pass Defense
Rosen looked comfortable in his starting debut vs. Seattle Sunday. He consistently got the ball to his receivers with more zip and less processing time than did Bradford. He was also more agile out of the pocket. Only problem was continued degree of dropsy on the part of his receivers.

Cardinal pass blockers looked as though they'd be manhandled by Seattle throughout the game, but generally did a good job of protecting Rosen as the game progressed.

Niners pass rush has only netted 8 sacks, but Buckner, Armstead and Foster are pass rushers to keep an eye on.

Niner defense is without the injured Sherman (a key loss for the Niners).

Key to Cardinal success (as always) will be the ability of its receivers to hang onto the ball.

Key Matchups:
Fitz vs Flowers..Kirk vs. Griffin...Gresham vs. Thomas...Johnson vs. Wagner


Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Niner Run Defense
David Johnson had more touches vs. Seattle but wasn't all that consistent in the yards he picked up. . Cards appear to be fascinated by what Edmonds can do with the ball in his hands, but he's more of a 3rd down type RB who has trouble pushing the pile inside.

Key Matchups:
D Johnson vs. Warner, Cardinal OL vs. Warner, Foster, Buckner


Special Teams

Niner Special Teams

K       09 Gould       
P        05 Pinion             
H       05 Pinion
LS     86 Nelson
KR    32 Reed Jr
PR    81 T Taylor

Cardinals Special Teams
P - 02 Lee
K- 04 Dawson
H - 02 Lee
LS -46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan, 14 Nelson
PR - 13 Kirk, 22 Logan


Matchup: Niner Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Dawson is our kicker. Next question.

Key matchups:
Dawson vs . Gould


Coaching
Niners are in the second year of the Kyle Shanahan coaching regime. He's said to have worked miracles during the final month of last season going 5 & 0 in December, but the loss of his star QB (Jimmy O) has been a challenge - he's 1 & 3 thus far this year. Wilks and his OC (McCoy) are under considerable fire by the Cardinal faithful. (That tends to happen when you're 0 & 4).

Cards did show improvement vs. Seattle, but still seem to lack the appropriate degree of ("what could conceivably go wrong") paranoia and ability to finish that goes with establishing a winning culture in the NFL.


How to Beat the Niners
Contain Beathard and force mistakes. Run the football. Attack their (Sherman-less) cornerbacks.
Tackle (much) better.

 
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