The San Francisco 49ers look to revert back to their winning ways after a tough overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. To do so, the Niners would have to upend the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, and those Cardinals presented head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. with some notable difficulties the last time these two teams met back in Week 9.

After one half of play, the Cardinals hold a 16-10 lead over their NFC West rivals.

San Francisco won the toss and elected to defer, giving Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense a chance to replicate the uptempo success it had two weeks before.

The Cardinals managed to work down into the 49ers' 5-yard line, thanks to a defensive-interference penalty against cornerback Richard Sherman. An offensive pass-interference call against Arizona wiped out a would-be touchdown by tight end Charles Clay, forcing the Cardinals to settle for a 26-yard field goal on their opening drive to take the early 3-0 lead.

The 49ers opened up by going 3-and-out, as Arizona expectedly loaded the box to defend against the rush attack.

Following a beautifully thrown pass by Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray for 23 yards to Pharoh Cooper, placing it perfectly between two Niners defensive backs, Arizona was right back into the red zone again where Murray hit veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a 5-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 9-0 following a missed extra point.

Fitzgerald's touchdown marked the 19th time he's recorded one against the 49ers in his Hall of Fame career -- the most against any opponent. Meanwhile, Sherman was flagged three times for defensive pass interference.

San Francisco's second drive extended into Arizona territory. But a third-down conversion attempt led to a pass going through the hands of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, albeit there was good coverage. On fourth down, the Niners elected to go for it via a swing pass to running back Raheem Mostert, yet the ball bounced off his hands. Turnover on downs for San Francisco.

The Cardinals answered right back on their following drive, which culminated in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Murray to wide receiver Pharoh Cooper to increase the lead to 16-0 in favor of Arizona.

Yet 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo responded nicely just before the midway point of the second quarter, hitting wide receiver Richie James on a screen pass that went 57 yards and into the red zone. A few plays later, Garoppolo hit backup tight end Ross Dwelley for a 4-yard touchdown to get San Francisco on the board:


Garoppolo was 8-of-15 for 121 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Murray completed 15 of his 21 attempts for 108 yards and the two touchdowns. Murray also added 45 yards rushing, too.

A slew of Cardinals penalties just before the first-half two-minute warning helped the 49ers set up an offensive drive before the end of the second quarter. Holding by center Weston Richburg wiped out Dwelley's would-be second touchdown of the game, ultimately forcing San Francisco to settle for a 43-yard field-goal try by kicker Chase McLaughlin, which was good.

The 49ers will open up the second half on offense. And the Niners defense might have to operate without EDGE Dee Ford, who suffered a hamstring injury and is questionable to return.
  • Peter Panacy
  • Written by:
    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.