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The Setup
Niners were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15. All the Cards needed to reach the playoffs was to accept the gift of facing an injury-plagued Niner team who presumbly had little more than pride to play for.

"Cards Fall Flat"

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").

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
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

2nd Quarter
Ari 14:25 FG Mike Nugent 43 SF 7 - Cards 6

3rd Quarter
SF 9:47 Kyle Juszczyk 9 pass from C.J. Beathard (Robbie Gould Kick) SF 14- Cards 6

4th Quarter
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

Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs Arizona 20 - SF 22
  • Passing: Murray 31 for 50 , 247 Yds 0 TD, 0 Int. 125.4 Rating
    ................Beathard 13 for 22 182 Yds, 3 TDs, 2 Ints 23.6 Rating

    Sacked By: Cards 3- SF 3

    Rushing: Cards 120 - SF 227 (7.6 YPC).

    Receiving: Cards - Hopkins 8 fof 12 for 48 yds...Kirk 7 of 10 for 76 yds
    ..................SF - Kittle 4 0f 5 for 92 yds.

    Tackles - Cards - Baker. 9...Hicks 6
    ................SF - Warner 14 ...Moore 11

    Interceptions By - Cards - 0... SF 1

    Fumbles Lost - Cards 1 of 4 - SF 1 of 3

    Penalties - Cards 4 for 20...SF - 4 for 27

    Time of Possession: Cards 32:16 - SF 27:44

The "Bright Side"

  • Nugent delivered when asked to.
  • We held the Niners to 20 points

The Dark Side

  • Untimely Penalties and sloppy play cost us a winnable game.
  • We let Jeffrey Wilson gash us for 183 yards
  • We failed (yet again) to stop Kyle Jusczyk from scoring 2 TD's
  • We couldn't stop CJ Beathard
  • Kittle caught 4 passes for 92 yards.
  • Niners played with more intensity than the lackluster Cardinals emerge the winner.

    When it came to needing to convert key plays, the Cardinals came up flat..

Predictable play calling .

12 Offensive points

K Murray played like a very good rookie (but that wasn't enough to win with)

Last Word:
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).

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