The Cardinals’ qualifying hopes took a big hit on Saturday, as Arizona slumped to home ground in front of the 49ers, 20-12. The 49 was led by midfielder CJ Beathard three touchdown passes, 183 yards by Jeff Wilson, and a defense that kept the Cardinal to 4 of 16 in third and 1 of 3 in the red.
San Francisco, already eliminated from postseason, improved to 6-9 while avoiding the season being swept away at the hands of the Cardinals. Arizona, now 8-7 after a 5-2 start, has fallen behind the Bears (who will face the Jagaurs on Sunday) in the race to earn their final NFC playoff place.
Catching Wilson 21 yards gave San Francisco 7-6 in the first half. After Kenyan Drake from Arizona started in the fourth quarter with a one-yard touchdown run, the 49-man squad closed Kyle Goshesk’s second stroke in the half to continue the San Francisco advance to 20-12 with an 8:26 left. 49ers full-back Achillou Witherspoon finished leading the next Cardinal when he was awarded Kyler Murray’s final pass assigned to Christian Kirk. The San Francisco defense sealed the victory when Murray was unable to reach Deandrie Hopkins in fourth place 20 seconds before the match.
Why the 49ers won
While coughing up the ball once, the 49 players made the fewest turns since Week 6. They also forced two turns that included Witherspoon picking the finish zone for Murray. Led by Wilson, the 49-speed attack accumulated 227 yards at 30 cartridges. His 34-yard campaign prepared a second Beatard touchdown pass to Juszcyzk which gave the 49ers an eight-point pad. George Keitel, who played for the first time since Week 8, caught up with four goals out of five for 92 yards despite playing in limited shots. His 24-yard catch kicked off Wilson’s descent in the first quarter, while his 27-yard catch caught Juszcyzk nine yards giving the 49ers a lead in the third quarter 14-6.
The 49 players survived a crisp kicking performance from Ruby Gold, who missed three kicks that included field aiming attempts at 41 and 37 yards. And while they were only 2 out of 9 in third, one of those diversions was falling behind the impressive Jerick McKinnon in the third and tenth play that established Juszczyk’s first relegation.
Why did the cardinals lose
While they were 4 out of 6 in fourth place, Cardinals only 4 out of 16 were in third place. Drake pushed 45 yards on only 18 wagons, defeating the Cardinals’ 49ers, 227-120. Hopkins, who had 14 passes for 151 yards in Arizona’s first week win over the 49ers, scored just 48 yards in eight catches on Saturday. Murray, who went 31 of 50 for 247 yards, was fired three times while facing steady pressure from the dash of 49-man’s pass.
Murray also corrupted his receivers. Trailing 7-3 in the first half, a tight end, Dan Arnold threw a deep pass and also made a costly wrong start that forced the Cardinals to settle for a field goal. Dropping 14-6 in late third quarter, Arnold’s confusion at the Cardinals ’36-yard streak seemed to open the door to the Cardinals’ defense before the Cardinal’s defense could stop. Although his interception was a byproduct of an underground pass, Kirk, hitting him 38 yards from Mike Nugent’s first goal in the quarter, could do something to stop Witherspoon from getting off the ball.
After relegating Drake, reducing their lead to two points, the 49 players appeared to be in their wake when the Cardinals’ defense forced a kick into the San Francisco possession that ensued. The 49 players came in a big stop, as full-back Fred Warner (who led 14 of the two teams ‘tackles) broke Murray’s pass assigned to Hopkins in fourth and second places on the Cardinals’ 35-yard streak. The 34-yard Wilson in the next play by Beathard’s ran the one-yard drop to Juszczyk.
Play the game
While he had many impressive kicks, Wilson’s hunt gave the 49ers landing an early momentum. Wilson, who entered the game with only 341 yards, recorded his second performance at 100 yards this season. He now has eight touchdowns this season and five in the last 49 players in his last three matches.
“We are not proud of our record, but that does not tell the story of these people.” – Coach of 49 players Kyle Shanahan in his injured team, Via Peter Panassi from FanSided
“We have to find a way to take the next step.” – Cliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals coach, after his team lost control of the fate of the playoff match, Via Kyle Odegaard from the Cardinals’ official website
Arizona will travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams, who defeated the Cardinals when the two teams met in Week 13. The 49ers will host the Seahawks, who defeated San Francisco in a penalty shootout in Week 8. Seattle entered Week 16 with one. – A standout game on the Rams and a two-game lead over the Cardinals in NFC West Ranking.
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