Remember the part about Thursday Night Football games being weird, especially for the road team? The San Francisco 49ers looked a bit disjointed early in Arizona, yet hold a 21-7 halftime lead over their NFC West division rivals.

The Niners' bid to remain undefeated through Week 9 went through the Arizona Cardinals in prime time, and the game got off to a similar start as did the Niners' previous contests against the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, as newly acquired Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake picked up chunk yardage on San Francisco's first defensive stand.

Arizona's opening possession culminated in a touchdown, as Drake punched it in to give the Cardinals a quick 7-0 lead.

The 49ers were able to respond back towards the end of the first quarter, however, thanks to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hitting tight end George Kittle for what was a pretty amazing touchdown score with the stiff arm on Cardinals safety Budda Baker:


Garoppolo would hit wide receiver Kendrick Bourne in the second quarter, too, despite the ball being tipped. And one of the primary setup players of the drive was wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who finished the first half with 74 yards on five receptions with a touchdown. Garoppolo, meanwhile, was 17-of-21 for 172 yards, three touchdowns against no interceptions. His counterpart, Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, was 7-of-13 for 46 yards and was sacked twice.

San Francisco's running game, which was so effective with running back Tevin Coleman last week against the Carolina Panthers, saw fellow tailback Matt Breida rip off 65 yards on six attempts, most of those coming in the waning minutes of the first half.

Facing 4th-and-1 with four seconds remaining in the half, head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to go for it. The Cardinals looked like they initially stopped it, although head coach Kliff Kingsbury called a timeout just before the snap, which wasn't heard. Given the extra chance, Garoppolo managed to hit Sanders to close out the first half.

The 49ers will receive to open up the third quarter.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.