The Bottom Line:
"We'll look at the tape and see what went wrong, but as of right now ..." linebacker Haason Reddick said, before letting out a "pheeww" sound. "Did not see this coming."
Therein lies the problem - the Cards sat back and waited for the Niners to "come at them." SF handed them all they could (or couldn't) handle.
Cards lost. Not only that - they failed to show up. It wasn't that they didn't have any shot of winning; they were within one score of beating or tying the Niners all the way through most of the 4Q. SF kept trying to hand them the game (For example, fail-safe kicker Robbie Gould whiffed 3 times on gimme FG or XP tries). But they fell victim to all the standard Cardinal bugaboos - penalties...inability to stop the Niners from converting 3rd downs...Letting 3rd string Niner RB Jeffrey Wilson slice through their run-defense like butter. ..Letting traditional Cardinal-Killer Kyle Juszczk score 2 TD's beat us yet again).
Cards are now 8 & 7 with one game left omn the schedule. We're not ready to concede the playoff spot but things don't look good (Even though we'd have achieved that goal, I'm not sure whether or not - the way we played Saturday - we deserved a spot in the "tournament").
Ari 4:50 FG Mike Nugent 27 - Cards 3 - SF 0
SF 12:16 Jeffery Wilson 21 pass from C.J. Beathard (Robbie Gould Kick) SF 7 - Cards 3
Ari 14:25 FG Mike Nugent 43 SF 7 - Cards 6
SF 9:47 Kyle Juszczyk 9 pass from C.J. Beathard (Robbie Gould Kick) SF 14- Cards 6
Ari 2:52 Kenyan Drake 1 run (Pass Failed) SF 14 - Cards12
SF 6:24 Kyle Juszczyk 1 pass from C.J. Beathard (Kick Failed) SF 20 - Cards 12
Final Score - SF 20 - Cards 12
At 8-7, the Cards are a half-game ahead of the 7-7 Bears, who play 1-13 Jacksonville Sunday and own the tiebreaker for the final postseason spot in the NFC. In theory, even if the Bears win Sunday, they could lose to the Packers in Week 17 and the Cards could take back the spot, but they will have to go to Los Angeles and beat the Rams -- something the Cardinals have not done in a long, long time.
We'll leave it up to the pundits to figure out how we can secure a playoff spot. Needless to say, the least the Cards will need to do will be to win in Week 17 (Clue - It will take a bigger emotional effort than the Cards showed vs.. San Franciso).