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The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals didn't exactly get into a high-scoring affair over the first half of their Week 8 matchup. And after two quarters, the Niners lead 5-3 with quarterback C.J. Beathard struggling mightily through the air.


The San Francisco 49ers looked to exact some vengeance against their NFC West division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 8 after a turnover-prone Week 5 loss at Levi's Stadium earlier this season. Ball protection figured to be a key attribute for both teams, which entered the contest with 1-6 records through seven weeks. San Francisco would also have to navigate through notable injuries to wide receiver Pierre Garçon (knee) and center Weston Richburg (knee), who were listed as inactive for the contest.

Both teams started off going 3-and-out, with the Niners' opening drive ending in the first of three first-half sacks of quarterback C.J. Beathard. Another sack on their second drive ensured head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad would be pushed out of field-goal range.

Still, the 49ers managed to score first, as EDGE Cassius Marsh got pressure on Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen in the end zone, forcing an intentional grounding and resulting in a safety to put San Francisco up 2-0 early:


Early on, Beathard's efforts under center sure looked more the part of an indecisive and reluctant signal-caller than anything else. He finished the first two quarters going 4-of-9 for just 39 yards and looked completely out of sync while doing it.

Rosen wasn't much better, although the Cardinals' drive at the start of the second quarter was far more promising from Arizona's perspective. Aided by a 26-yard pass-interference penalty by 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, the Cardinals were able to move into the red zone where they settled for a 31-yard field goal to take the 3-2 lead at the 10:23 mark.

Sounds like a baseball score, doesn't it?

San Francisco's defense managed to set a bit of tone later in the quarter, though, as safety Jaquiski Tartt read Rosen perfectly and picked off his pass intended for Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, returning it to Arizona's 12-yard line. The interception marked only the second time the Niners defense picked off a pass all season. But Beathard's struggles continued, forcing the 49ers to settle for a 27-yard field goal to take a 5-3 lead.

Oh, and cornerback Richard Sherman had his first sack since 2012:


Defensive tackle Arik Armstead also picked up a key sack late in the first half, which pushed Arizona out of field-goal range and a would-be attempt to retake the lead heading into halftime.

Linebacker Reuben Foster also exited with a hamstring injury at the two-minute warning to the locker room, and safety Jaquiski Tartt also went down with a shoulder injury towards the end of the first half and was eventually ruled out. Foster returned early in the third quarter.

Arizona will get the ball first in the third quarter.