For about three plus quarters on Sunday afternoon, it appeared that the Arizona Cardinals were going to pull off a minor upset of the San Francisco 49′ers, however a late turnover, combined with a coupled of early turnovers, did the Cards in and they ended up losing a game that was probably closer than the final score ended at 32-20.
Early on, Cards quarterback Carson Palmer was a mess. He threw two really bad interceptions that gave the Niners possession deep inside Cardinals territory. However both times the Cardinals came up roses on defense and they held the Niners to two Phil Dawson field goals. The Niners led 6-0. It appeared that it might stay that way for awhile but then fireworks started to go off for the Cards offensively.
Palmer hit receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a 75-yard pass and run and all of a suddden it was 7-6. The lead didn’t last long though as later in the quarter the Cards offensive line couldn’t contain the Niners defense in the end zone and the Niners got a safety to make it 8-7. The ensuing drive resulted in a Niners touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick to tight end Vernon Davis. The 7-6 lead quickly became a 15-7 deficit. That didn’t last long however.
A minute and a half later, Cards running back Andre Ellington ran around the right end 15-yards for a touchdown to make it 15-14. Another pass from Kaepernick to Davis before halftime though gave them their 22-14 lead at half.
The third quarter it had seemed the Cards once again made the necessary adjustments to overcome first half errors. They got a touchdown on a pass from Palmer to receiver Michael Floyd a little more than halfway through the quarter and it was 22-20 after a failed two-point conversion. That conversion attempt by the way, you’re damned if you do damned if you don’t in my opinion. If they convert, everyone says what a genius head coach Bruce Arians is. Fail and everyone wonders why they chase points that early. I don’t think it was the time to chase the points right then but I understand the sentiment. Convert the extra-point there though and a Niners touchdown keeps it a one score game.
The Cards had a chance to take the lead late in the third quarter though. Everything seemed to be going their way until Fitzgerald fumbled a ball as he was going down after a catch. The Cards had run an 11-play 50-yard drive that looked like would result in some points. The fumble took a lot of air out of the Cards and you could see it. The defense allowed the Niners on their next drive to go 18 plays for 83 yards and take almost 10 minutes off the clock. It was a demoralizer and in effect, ended any chances for a Cards victory.
So now the Cards have a short week to get ready for the Seattle Seahawks at home on Thursday night. There is no time to sulk and wonder what if. It’s time to get back on the practice field and film room tomorrow and figure out how to eliminate the early game mistakes that seem to put the Cards behind quickly in games.