For the most part the Arizona Cardinals have been in each football game from start to finish this season, with one exception. After today, make that two exceptions. The San Francisco 49′ers just overwhelmed the Cardinals en route to a 23-7 victory on a rainy Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Nothing worked on offense. The Cards turned the ball over five times and quarterback John Skelton showed exactly why I’ve been pointing out for the last two weeks that Kevin Kolb needs to remain this team’s starter once he returns healthy. Skelton just looked bad today. He was even replaced by Richard Bartel in the second half after his ineffectiveness. Even after all of that, the Niners still left a window of opportunity open for the Cards to make a comeback. In fact, several windows.
For most of the first half, the Niners missed opportunities of their own, leaving the Cards in the game. They attempted field goals on their first six possessions, hitting only three. The Cardinals special teams, one of the lone bright spots, blocked two of attempts while Niners kicker David Akers missed the third. The Niners allowed the Cards to stay in the game despite the Cards only having the ball for about eight minutes in the first half. The Niners controlled the ball with ease despite the lack of scoring.
Their quarterback Alex Smith didn’t have his best game, throwing an interception in the end zone to Daryl Washington in the second half and over-throwing open receivers that really could have blown this game out. Frank Gore was, well, Frank Gore. He carried 24 times for 88 yards. He showed no effects of his injury.
The Niners defense just ripped Skelton apart though. He only went 6-19 for 99 yards and three interceptions making Tim Tebow out to look like John Elway in comparison. Bartel came in and went 8-16 for 64 yards and a lucky touchdown strike to Larry Fitzgerald. Beanie Wells had a critical fumble in the first half and for the most part was a non-factor outside of the fumble, carrying the ball eight times for 33 yards. The Niners out-gained the Cards 431-229. Total domination.
Really this game could have ended 39-7 and really should have been a shut out. Fitzgerald only scores on the tipped ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter. The Cards appeared once again to have no game plan. None. If there was one, it was not apparent to the rest of us.
Now the Cards can go back to hoping Kolb gets healthy. This season is now officially a lost cause. There are winnable games over the last six weeks, however if they play the way they did today, they will not win again this season and you can take that to the bank.