3 reasons the Arizona Cardinals lost by two possessions to the 49ers

While the Arizona Cardinals didn’t quite lose in a blowout that everyone was expecting, they nonetheless gave up 45 points to the San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
1 of 3

There are many reasons the Arizona Cardinals gave up 45 points to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15. Sure, a poor defense served as the main catalyst here as the unit struggled in every facet, but the offense often didn’t do enough to give the defense enough time in between drives.

Therefore, it resulted in the 49ers offense once again making quick work of yet another opponent, as they have for the past several weeks. So what must the Cardinals work on to keep this from happening again for their last three games of the season? Let’s look at where they struggled and how they can go about fixing it.

Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) is defended by Arizona Cardinals safety / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY

3 reasons the Arizona Cardinals lost in Week 15

1 - Constant breakdowns in coverage

It’s no exaggeration that quarterback Brock Purdy is statistically enjoying one of the best second seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, with perhaps Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Dan Marino being the only names ahead of him. In three of the previous four games leading to Week 15, Purdy had posted a passer rating of 122.1 or better, so the Arizona Cardinals should have known they needed to bring their best game.

Unfortunately, Purdy picked apart the Redbirds secondary, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt and 242 passing yards. Next to Antonio Hamilton, who had three pass breakups and a near-interception, no one in the Cardinals secondary did anything noteworthy or had even the slightest answer for Purdy.

Oftentimes, the Cards lost track of San Francisco’s pass catchers, and that could stem from lack of awareness to the team not being on the same page with one another. Overall, they have had 15 weeks to mesh and, despite a few strong performances, are still nowhere near where they need to be. They have a more manageable matchup coming up against an up and down Chicago Bears offense, so perhaps they can gain some traction there.