The San Francisco 49ers managed to win their Week 9 Thursday Night Football bout against the Arizona Cardinals 28-25. But for the Niners defense, which had allowed a total of 23 points combined over its last four bouts, Week 9 was more about missed chances and letting an opponent get far too close to stealing an upset.

So it wasn't too surprising cornerback Richard Sherman was noticeably frustrated with the defense, yet happily relieved quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense executed well enough.

"You're thankful for the offense," Sherman told reporters after San Francisco's eighth win of the season. "You're thankful for the way they played. We let us down, myself included."

In what's become something of a trend this season, the 49ers defense looked shaky against the run early, quickly allowing the Cardinals to score on a 4-yard rushing touchdown by newly acquired running back Kenyan Drake, who finished the game with 110 rush yards on 15 carries. In total, Arizona averaged 6.7 yards per carry against the Niners defense, which allowed opponents an average of 4.4 yards per rush entering the contest.

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The Cardinals also outscored San Francisco 18-7 after halftime. Their comeback was all but thwarted by Garoppolo and the offense's key third-down conversions late in the fourth quarter to keep the ball in the Niners' hands.

"It's humbling. It's humbling for the defense," Sherman continued. "We need to be humble. That was a humbling game. We need to be humbled on all levels, and I think there's accountability on all levels. And we'll watch the tape and watch it critically."

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who started off the game rather sluggish, ended up finishing with 241 pass yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard catch-and-run completion to rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella, which helped cut the Niners' lead to just three points late in the fourth quarter.

"That's not championship football," Sherman added.

If there's a positive takeaway, Thursday night games on short weeks often affect the defense more than the offense, given the rest-and-recover nature needed for that particular side of the ball. Still, Arizona potentially exposed some weaknesses Sherman and the defense will need to figure out between now and their next game, Week 10 on Monday Night Football against the two-loss Seattle Seahawks.
  • 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.