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The Setup
0 & 4 Cardinals went to battle with the injury-wracked Forty-Niners -this pretty much established the game-narrative (i.e. "Can the Cards get off the schneid?" and "Can Niner backups step up and negate the onslaught of injuries?").

Much of the noise coming out of Cardinal HQ was the usual Coachspeak/ "this is what we're gonna do" yada." Even the most ardent Cardinal fans were beginning to adopt the attitude of "Don't tell us / Show us."

Lede
Turnovers Bail Out Victorious Cardinals

The Bottom Line:
Cards won their first game of the season by beating a division rival on the road.

That's the dull, boring headline statement - the more juicy version involves how Josh Rosen threw a TD bomb on the first Cardinal play from scrimmage and how 5 takeaaysrescued the Cardinals from an ordeal which featured a 40: 20 Time of Possession deficit, a completion percentage well under 50% and a run defense consisting mainly of wrapping paper.

One impressive thing to note - When the Cards needed that final possession (& possibly a score) late in the 4Q, the offense gave it to us).

Game Log
Source: NFL.com Website - NFL.com, without warning, changed its Game Center webpage and game logs, so I'm "flying blind" here"

1st Quarter
  • Niners at 15:00
    Cards won the toss and deferred. TB on KO. Niners ran at us at will - (lots of dinking dunking and bubble screen stuff. - & scored a TD on the first possession. Check out this play yardage sequence: +9 +17, +16, -4, +4, {I (Baker), To Juszczyk +25, .False Start Flag, +2, Brieda +5 yds and a TD.Two-pointt conversion no good. Niners 6 - Cards 0.

    Cards at 9:49
    TB on KO. On first play from scrimmage, Rosen hit Kirk deep middle for a 75-yd TD (Talk about a game-flipper)! Cards 7 - Niners 6.

    Niners at 9:33
    KO returned to Niner 31. On the 3rd play of the series, Beathard's pass for Garcon was intercepted by Trey Boston and returned to the Niner 43.

    Cards at 8:21
    Cards were held to 3 & out. Punt downed at Niner 5.

    Niners at 7:21
    Breida ran around RE for +17 yds and did it again for +4. But Bynes sacked Beathard at the 11 yd line for minus-15 yards forcing SF to punt. Punt (net penalty) gave Niners the ball at their own 11.

    Cards at 5:31

    D Johnson picked up +10 ydsoff LT and then caught a short pass for +5 and took it up the gut for +1. But Cards were forced to punt. O-O-B at Niner 10.

    Niners at 3:00
    Breida started off by running up the middle for +9 yds. Two plays later they brought in Morris who - after picking up +12 yds up the middle - caught a short pass and turned it into a +15-yd gain. (Garcon and Breida injured).

    First Quarter Score: Cards 7 - Niners 6.

    2nd Quarter
  • Niners Continued
    Niner ball at their own 30. Beathard hit Kittle for +17 yds and Bourne for +17 yds. On the next play, Mostert coughed up the ball (forced by Gunter) on an inside running play. P Peterson recovered it at the Cardinal 33 circled to and down the right sideline en route to a 49-yd return to the SF 18. .

    Cards at 12:34
    Card ball at SF 20. On the third play of the possession (after gains of +11 and + 6 yards) Johnson banged off LG of a +2 yd TD. Cards 14 - Niners 6.

    Niners at 11:00
    TB on KO. Cards held Niners to 3 & out for the first time this game. Punt fair caught by Kirk at Card 28.

    Cards at 9:31
    A 33-yd completion to Kirk was nullfied by an OPA penalty on Seals-Jones. Cards got some of that back, but were forced to punt from the AZ 22. Punt downed at the Niner 21.

    Niners at 7:38
    Cards forced a couple of incompletions, but, on 3rd down, they couldn't stop a short throw to Juszczyk for +15 yds. But the SF drive fizzled and they punted to the Cardinal 6.

    Cards at 5:23
    Cards held to 3 & out and punted to the Niner 36.

    Niners at 3:46
    Teams went past the 2:00 mark. Niners sustained the drive when Beathard - at midfield on 3rd & 4 - scrambled for +6. But Card defense held SF in check and they were forced to punt from thei Cardinal 41. TB on punt.

    Cards at 0:43
    Cards at their own 20. A 20-yd completion to Fitz was negated by an aborted snap for minus-6 yds. Cards came close to scoring but a penalty ended the first half with the ball on the Niner 41.

    Halfitme Score: Cards 14 - Niners 6.

3rd Quarter

Cardinals at 15:00
Cards received. TB on KO. Iupoti injured (Munyer in). A penalty sets up a 3rd & 5 but D Johnson loses minus-2 yds on a run up the middle. Punt returned to SF 19,

Niners at 13:03
SF handed out heavy doses of Morris (3 straight carries) and Mostert before the Cards nailed Morris for minus-2 yds. A deep leftpass to Garcon gave the Niners life - 1st & 10 at the Niner 47.Completions to Kittle and Morris made it 1st & 10 at the Card 39. But on the very next play, C Jones (I didn't know he could fly) stuck an arm out and sacked Beathard for minus-7 and caused/recovered a fumble to end the Niner scoring threat.

Cards at 8:46
Cards picked up a 1st down but then their drive fizzled. Punt muffed but retained at Niner 10.

Niners at 6:19
Two consecutive passes to Juszczyk pick up a first down. Beathard hits Garcon (He's b-a-a-c-k) for +8 to pick up another first down. A completion to Taylor for +14 is followed by gains by MOrris for +11 and + 7 yards. Then it's Mostert up the middle for +12 before the quarter ends.

  • Halfitme Score: Cards 14 - Niners 6.
4th Quarter

Niners Continued
Drive stalls at the Cardinal 27 but Gould's 45-yarder is wide right.

  • Cards at 14:52
    Cards' ball at their own 35. A roughing the passer penalty overcomes an expected 3 & out. (Andre Smith has injured hamstring.). Cards run 3 plays and then punt. Punt downed at Niner 17.
  • Niners at 12:37
    The Niners pick up two 1st downs. On the next 2nd down opportunity (with 10:01 on the clock), Beathard hits Kittle for +45 yards. On the next 3rd down opportunity (3rd & 5at the Cardinal 9, Beathard hits Juszczyk for +8 and another first down with 7:49 on the clock. Card defense stiffens, holding the Niners to zero yards on three plays. But - on 4th & 1 at the Cardinal 1, Beathard hits Taylor for a 1-yd TD. Shanahan decides to "go for 2, but Beathard's pass for Garcon is batted down by C Jones. Cards 14 - Niners 12.

Cards at 6:51
TB on KO. Three & out. Punt downed at SF 32. .

Niners at 5:50
TB on KO. (E Turnet injured). Beathard sacked by B Baker on 3rd play of possession,
A few plays later, Beathard's pass for Bolden is intercepted by Benwikere and returned to the SF 26

Niners at 4:33
TB on KO. On the 3rd play from scrimmage, Reddick sacks Beathard at the Niner 33 and forces a fu
ble. Bynes recovers and takes it to the house (25 yrds) Cards 21 - Niners 12.

Niners at 4:09
Baker sacks Beathard for minus-9. Two plays later, Benwikere intercepts a Beathard pass intended for Bolden and retunrs it to the SF 26.

Cardinals at 3:48
Cards finish the way Wilks wants them to - Johnson for +1 and +8. Kirk for +5. Johnson for +6. And again for +6 yards and a Cardinal TD, Cards 28 - Niners 12.

Niners at 3:16
KO returned to SF 24.
Niners mounted one final drive capped by a one-yd TD run up the middle by Beathard. 2-pointer is again no good. Cards 28 - Niners 18.

Cardinals at 1:29
Cards recover onside kick. Three knees/game over

Final Score: Seattle 20 - Cards 17

Notable Game Stats.
(Note - New NFL.com web site makes locating and compiling game stats a bit daunting)

  • Rosen was 10 / 25 for 170 yds, one TD and no interceptions.

    Kirk led Card receivers with 3 catches.

  • D Johnson gained 55 yds on 18 carries but had 2 TDs.

  • Cards gained 220 net yards to 447 for SF

  • +5 (guesstimated)Card defenders had 5 takeaways. I don't think SF had any]..

Cards were penalized 5 times (Niners were flagged 9).

Time of Possession: Cards: 19:00+/ Niners 40:00+

Bright Spots

  • Takeaway Ratio (both gotten and given up will win most games)
  • Final 4Q TD drive finished off the football game.
  • Pass rush - especially in 4Q

The Dark Side

  • Game started off with SF runners just mangling the Cardinal run defense. Makes me wonder what would have happened if Shanahan just kept dialing up running play after running play.

    Their receivers seemed to catch about 80% of the passes thrown to them. Ours would be lucky to hang onto 20%.

    We still can't run the freakin' ball.

    Rosen wasn't as laser-sharp as he was a week ago. (Missed a couple of open men).

    Eliminate the takeaway advantage and the Cards look pretty dismal on both sides of the ball.

  • What it all boils down to is the lack of paranoia on the part of each player - "i.e. don't be that guy" (who missed the block, failed to wrap up the tackle, was flagged for roughness etc.) . Cards are finding too many ways to lose.

Last Word:
Takeaway football is exciting and will win you a few games. But for the Cards to salvage the season, we're going to need more.

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