Arizona Cardinals Can’t Hold Off 49ers, Lose 20-17


17. 32. 20. 42. Final

Arizona Cardinals couldn’t muster anything on offense in the second half and ended up losing to the San Francisco 49ers for the 5th seed in the NFC playoffs

One thing has become clear once again in the NFC West.  If you don’t have a quarterback or a defense that can stop anyone, you can’t beat the Seattle Seahawks or the San Francisco 49ers.  The Arizona Cardinals lost to the 49ers 20-17 on Sunday.

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For almost three quarters on Sunday it appeared that the Arizona Cardinals were going to pull off the miracle of winning the NFC West and the first or second seed in the playoffs.  However the NFL gods got their way and all is right in the world again with a Cardinals team that couldn’t close the deal and a Seahawks team everyone seems to love outside of San Francisco and Arizona coming back from a 6-0 halftime deficit to put the St. Louis Rams away 20-6.

The Cardinals looked great early on with their offense.  Quarterback Ryan Lindley threw two touchdown passes in the first half to receiver Michael Floyd but whatever was working in the first half, either the 49ers adjusted to in the second half or the Cardinals went away from what got them there.

The running game was a little better this week than it was last but again they seemed to come in and out of the running game and never staying with it for a lengthy amount of time.  Instead once again it was see how many passes Lindley could throw.  He went 23-39 for 316 yard two touchdowns but three interceptions.  He constantly threw balls in the second half into traffic.

Then there is the defense.  The defense which seemed to be able to stop everyone up until this month.  Niners running back Frank Gore ran free on Sunday.  He had 25 carries for 144 yards.  Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for another 63 yards.  The Niners rushed for 206 yards after the Seahawks put 267 on them last week.  I don’t know what changed but that’s not going to cut it in Carolina next Saturday.

Speaking of, the Carolina Panthers demolished the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday 34-3 to win the NFC South, so now the Cardinals have to follow the ridiculous NFL rule of division winners get a home game.  So with a record of 7-8-1, the Panthers get to host the 11-5 Cardinals next week in what may very well end up being the final dagger in a disappointing end to the Cardinals season.  Oh what could have been.