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2019 Reg Season

........Niners 36 Cardinals 26

The Lede
The Bottom Line
Game Recap
Game Stats
Bright Spots
The Dark Side
Last Word

The Setup
Niners - on top of the NFC West - were coming off a tough Mon. night loss to Seattle. Cards - pretty much out of playoff contention - lost 30 - 27 to Buccos lst Sunday. Question of the week - was the Cardinals' close loss to undefeated SF two weeks ago a fluke?

Cards blow 4th quarter lead and lose to Niners 46 - 26

The Bottom Line:
Cards started off fast, opening up a
9-0 first quarter lead and holding onto a 19 - 17 led entering the 4Q and trying to hang onto a 3-point lead with a half-minute to go in regulation only to fall victim to a 25-yd TD pass and then a meaningless "keep away" TD on the final play.

Game Recap
SF won the toss and deferred. Cards moved to within FG range (aided by a 45 yd flag on She rnan but denied a TD on an offensive PI call), but couldn't deliver a TD. Gonzalez good from 26. On the next Cardinal possession, Cards were able to to cash in on completions to Fitz and Pharo Cooper to score a TD on a 5-yd completion to Fitz. (XP was no good).

Cards took a 9 - 0 lead (Gonzo missed the XP) into the 2Q and then widened it to 16 - 0 on a lot of short stuff plus a 21-yd scramble by Murray and capped off by a 5 yd TD reception by Cooper. A 57-yd completion to R James helped set up a 4 yd TD pass from Garoppolo to Dwelley to break the ice for the Niners 16- 7. A 23-yd pass to Deebo Samuel set the stage for a 43 yd McLaughlin FG to make it 16 - 10 Cards just before halftime.

SF scored on the opening 2H drive highlighted by a 37-yd pass to T Coleman and a 19-yd completion to Juszczk. Garoppolo hit Dwelley for a 5-yd TD to make it SF 17 - Cards 16. Niners masde it all the way down to the Cards 13 before his pass intended for Sanders was picked off by Hicks who ran it back to around midfield. Cards couldn't punch it in and settled for a 22-yd Gonzalez FG to give the Cards a 19 - 17 lead.

Niners came right back with a 10-play 75-yd TD drive - featuring a 26-yd pass to Samuel and a 19-yarder to Bourne - that crossed over into the 4Q and was topped off by 2-yd completion to Bourne (XP was no good). Cards 19 - SF 23.

A lot of short stuff capped off by a 22-yd Kyler Murray inside TD rush to give the Cards a 26 - 23 lead.

The officials then took over both the tempo and details of the football game. Starting at his own 35, Garoppolo led his offense on a brief march filled with short passes. He made it to 3rd & 3 at the Cardinal 28, needing a FG to tie it up. A 3-yd completion to Dwelley was ruled a 1st down (& a likely FG try). And the Replay Official then upheld the decision, declaring it a 1st down. With 4 downs to play with, Garoppolo hit J Wilson on a slant route for the go-ahead TD to give the Niners a 30 - 26 lead. An incredible amount of TV time was wasted watching officials review the action "under the hood."

The Cards turned the remaining 0:06 on the clock into the traditional game of "keep away" only to have Reed recover a muffed lateral and take it in for a meaningless score. Final:36 - 26 Niners.

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter

FG - Cards - Gonzalez - 26 Yds- Cards 3 - Niners 0

TD - Cards - Fitzgerald - 5 yd pass from Murray (XP No Good) - Cards 9 - Niners 0

1st Quarter Score: Cards 9 - Niners 0

2nd Quarter

  • TD - Cards - Cooper - 5 yd pass fr Murray - Cards 16 - Niners 0

    TD - SF- Dwelley - 4 yd pass from Garappolo- Cards 16 - Niners 7

    FG - SF McLaughlin - 43 Yds - Cards 16 - Niners 10

    Halftme Score: Cards 16 - Niners 10

3rd Quarter

TD - SF - Dwelley - 5 yd pass from Garoppolo - Niners 17 - Cards 16

FG - Cards - Gonzalez - 43 Yds - Cards 19 - Niners 17

    • Third Quarter Score: Cards 19 - Niners 17
4th Quarter

TD - SF - Bourne - 2 Yd pass fr Garoppolo (XP No Good)- Niners 23 - Cards 19

TD - Cards - Murray - 22 Yd run - Cards 26 - Niners 23

TD - SF - Wilson - 25 Yd pass fr Murray Niners 30 - Cards 26

TD Reed - 4 Yd - Fumble Return - Niners 36 - Cards 26

Final Score: SF 36 - Cards 26


Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs Niners 26 Cards 21
  • Passing: Murray 24 for 33...3 TDs..150 yds...3 TDs...0 Ints
    ................Garoppolo 34 for 45, 424 yds, 4 TDs and 2 Int

    Sacked: Cards 4 for 19 - Niners 2 for 16 yds

    Rushing: Murray 8 for 67...Drake 16 for 67
    ................Coleman 12 for 14

    Receiving: Kirk 6 for 41...Drake 6 for 13...Fitz 5 for 37 and a TD...Cooper 3 for 35 ... & a TD...Samuel 8 for 134...Jusczyk - 7 for 63...Bourne 4 for 31....Dwelley 4 for 14

    Interceptions - Cards - 2 for 67 Yds... Niners - none

    Fumbles Lost - Cards 2 for 2...-Niners 0 for 0

    Penalties - Cards 10 for 104 - Niners 10 for 127

    Time of Possession: Cards 31:23 - Niners 28:37

The "Bright Side"

  • Welcome to the Desert Mr Drake

    And, nice to see you Mr. Isabella

  • Murray still turnover free

We were within 3 points of winning

No fumbles lost

Didn't hear very much from Bosa

The Dark Side

  • Close-Shmose - The Niners won

    Cards lost 2/3 of the one on one battles (Jump Balls...Open Field Tackles...Close Official Calls.

    We're a half-step slow and a half zone "soft" on coverage..

    We still can't cover the TE

    Murray does not consistently make the right decisions. (i.e. 20+ yd backpedsal sack)

Last Word:
Game wasn't a fluke - It was a game the Cards should have filed as a "W"." What lept out at me was: (1) We knew the one thing we had to do near the end of the game was "prevent a TD." And what did we fail to do? Prevent a TD. (2) Check the number of pass completions to players who seldom showed up in the box scores of previous action. Over and over again, we'd neglect these unsung heros and leave the Jusczks, Wrights, Dwelleys and Bournes of the world wide open. (3) It seemed to this writer that, in terms of outsmarting the Niners early-on, Kingsbury ate the Niners lunch only to have the Niner coaches adjust to what we were doing (notably - taking away the outside run. We never responded their adjustments and our offense simply ran out of gas. Conversely, SF killed us in short passing game - their receivers won most of the head to head battles with our coverage personnel and previous problems with miscommunications were enough to tilt a tightly fought contest in favor of the other guys.

"Morning after" commentary by the Cardinal faithful generally centered around firing the General Manager (i.e. "when should we fire him?" Why we should fire him?" "How we should fire him?" Should we bake him a cake?"

My first impression to all this negative chatter was (& is): "My oh my! Are these Cardinal rooters folks I'd be happey to share a foxhole with?"

During the previous off-season, the Cardinal establishment determined that their recent move to overhaul the coaching staff was going nowhere (i.e. the future of the franchise was basically a 2-lane road moving directly inyo a brick wall. Their perception was that the game was changing and the franchise should change along with it. A golden opportunity presented itself in the form of innovative young HC Kliff Kingsbury and piled on top of that was a"new-age" QB (K Murray) who fit Kingsbury's new offense like a glove.

The Bidwills and their staff made their move. Exit Steve Wilks & his people. Enter Kingsbury and his version of the "Air Raid." Gutsy call? You betcha (runs smack into the face of traditional ways teams build a franchise). But the Cards were "all in" (which meant - "out with the old stuff/in with the new" and "live with newbie management, coaching and executional mistakes" (& learn from them).

Would this mean that the team would look like a bunch of blindman's bluff" zombies wandering around figuring out what to do? A little. But we;'d counter that the Cardinals are further along on the rocky road to recovery than we had any reason to expect them to.

The offense looks better than average and its potential seems limitless. Too many mistakes on defense, but most are correctible. We lose way more than half our one-on-one battles for jump balls and will have to decide where the problem lies - Physical mismatches? Inadequate teaching? Coaching deficiencies?

But the bottom line is that we should be able to plug the leaks and play better football - enough so that we should contend for a playoff spot next year (if problems are recognized and addressed).

So what, you say, about Steve Keim? On surface, he leaves much room for improvement (opposing NFL teams have rebuilt their OL, DB's and LB's quicker and better than we have). But I don't know the art of GMing better than most football fans do and, instead, urge ownership to identify and tackle the problems rather than scape-goat Keim or any other Cardinal staffer.

In short, any move we make shouold be from within the standpoint of: "Is this really the best move we can make to help our team.?"

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