Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Recap: Short-handed Cardinals send 49ers to dismal 31-17 defeat

Nov 7, 2021 at 4:28 PM--


1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
ARI 14 3 14 0 31
SF 0 7 7 3 17

It seemed like the San Francisco 49ers had a golden opportunity on their hands against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, with backup quarterback Colt McCoy under center for the Cardinals while starter Kyler Murray was sidelined with an ankle injury.

In addition, the Cardinals were without All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), wide receiver A.J. Green (illness), and defensive end J.J. Watt (shoulder), among others.

But those absences didn't equate to success for the 49ers, who fell 31-17 at the hands of the Cardinals and McCoy on Sunday for their eighth consecutive home loss.

In his first start since Week 15 of the 2020 season, McCoy threw for 249 yards and one touchdown on 22-of-26 passing. Running back James Conner stepped up for the Cardinals as well, running for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while catching five passes for 77 yards and one touchdown. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 326 yards on 28-of-40 passing with two touchdowns and one interception in a losing effort.

First Half

The 49ers opened the game with possession and moved across midfield before being forced to punt, which gave the Cardinals possession at their own 12-yard line. The Cardinals punted back to the 49ers after five plays, giving the 49ers the ball at their own 31-yard line, but the 49ers turned the ball over to the Cardinals on the first play of their second possession when cornerback Byron Murphy punched the ball out of the hands of tight end George Kittle, causing a fumble that recovered by linebacker Jordan Hicks at the Cardinals' 43-yard line.

The Cardinals capitalized off the turnover, moving 57 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead after a 13-yard touchdown run by Conner. Conner's run was the first play of over 10 yards on the drive, which featured a number of short gains on runs by Conner and pass completions by McCoy.


The Cardinals held the 49ers to a punt following the touchdown, then put together a drive that was difficult for the 49ers to swallow. The third play of the drive saw the Cardinals facing a 3rd-and-18 at their own 12-yard line, but they converted on a 21-yard pass from McCoy to Conner for a first down. The 49ers appeared to have stopped the Cardinals later in the drive on what seemed to be a third-down sack by defensive lineman Arik Armstead, but he was flagged for a questionable face mask penalty to keep the drive alive.

The penalty gave the Cardinals a first down at the 49ers' 34-yard line, which they followed with a trick play that saw wide receiver Christian Kirk throw a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Antoine Wesley at the 49ers' 1-yard line after catching a toss from McCoy. Conner

Disaster struck for the 49ers again on the next drive, as after moving into the red zone on a leaping catch from wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, the ball popped loose from Aiyuk's arms and was recovered by Hicks at the Cardinals' 7-yard line. McCoy flipped the field on the next play when he found Kirk for a 50-yard gain to the 49ers' 41-yard line, then the Cardinals turned the drive into a 17-0 lead after 26-yard field goal from kicker Matt Prater.


The 49ers found some desperately needed positive momentum on the following possession when they moved 75 plays in nine yards to cut the Cardinals' lead to 17-7 on a six-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Kittle. A 16-yard completion to Aiyuk on a 3rd-and-11 two plays earlier gave the 49ers a 1st-and-Goal with 28 seconds on the clock, then Garoppolo found Kittle with 16 seconds to play to give the 49ers a boost heading into halftime.


Second Half

Any momentum the 49ers established before halftime went out the window in a hurry once the second half began. The Cardinals took the second half kickoff and needed less than 90 seconds to extend their lead to 24-7, as McCoy followed a 25-yard completion to Wesley on the first play of the drive with a 45-yard connection to Conner on the third play of the drive for his first touchdown pass of the game.


Bad news kept coming for the 49ers from there, as after a three-and-out on their first possession of the half, they were sliced up by the Cardinals again on a seven-play, 71-yard drive that put the Cardinals up 31-7. A 35-yard run from Conner opened the drive, then the Cardinals kept the onslaught coming six plays later on a 21-yard run by running back Eno Benjamin.


The 49ers got one back on the next drive, when Garoppolo found Aiyuk from 11 yards out to cut the lead to 31-14. A 19-yard completion to Aiyuk and a 29-yard completion to Kittle earlier in the drive set the 49ers up with a 1st-and-Goal from the 7-yard line, then Garoppolo connected with Aiyuk on a 3rd-and-11 for the score.


The teams traded punts from there, then the 49ers cut the lead to 31-17 with 8:26 remaining in the game when a 26-yard field goal from kicker Robbie Gould capped a seven-play, 28-yard drive. The Cardinals punted on their next possession, but not before taking the game clock under four minutes while forcing the 49ers to use their remaining timeouts. The Cardinals then sealed the deal when Garoppolo was intercepted by safety Budda Baker, which set up possession at the 49ers' 31-yard line with just over three minutes to play. The Cardinals ran the clock under two minutes after the interception, then the 49ers were unable to add any points before time expired.

The loss sends the 49ers to 3-5 on the season, putting them in a hole behind the Atlanta Falcons (5-4) and New Orleans Saints (5-4) for a spot in the NFC playoff race. The Cardinals move to 8-1 with the win, which keeps them in first place in the NFC West.

The 49ers return to action on November 15 when they host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN). The Rams were the last team the 49ers defeated at Levi's Stadium, with that win (24-16) coming on October 18, 2020. The Cardinals will be back on the field one week from today in a home game against the Carolina Panthers (4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT, FOX).


ARI Team Stats SF
437 Total Yards 337
274 Passing Yards 298
163 Rushing Yards 39
10.4 Avg Yards per Pass 8.2
4.2 Avg Yards per Run 3.5
0 Fumbles Lost 2
0 Int Thrown 1
2 Sacks Allowed 5
36:47 Time of Pos 23:13
9 Penalties 3

Cardinals Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Colt McCoy 22/26 249 1 0
Christian Kirk 1/1 33 0 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
James Conner 21 96 4.6 2
Eno Benjamin 9 39 4.3 1
Colt McCoy 7 23 3.3 0
Chase Edmonds 1 3 3 0
Chris Streveler 1 2 2 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Christian Kirk 6 6 91 0
James Conner 5 5 77 1
Antoine Wesley 3 3 62 0
Zach Ertz 3 5 27 0
Rondale Moore 5 5 25 0
Darrell Daniels 1 2 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
James Conner 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Matt Prater 1 1 26 4
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Andy Lee 4 51.8 1 53
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Eno Benjamin 66 22 0 29
Rondale Moore 22 22 0 22
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Rondale Moore 1 2 0 2
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Jordan Hicks 6-2 0 0 0
Isaiah Simmons 6-0 0 0 1
Jalen Thompson 3-3 0 0 0
Markus Golden 3-2 3 0 0
Tanner Vallejo 3-0 0 0 0
Budda Baker 2-5 0 1 0
Dennis Gardeck 2-1 0 0 0
Marco Wilson 1-3 0 0 0
Byron Murphy 1-3 0 0 1
Chandler Jones 1-2 1 0 0
Robert Alford 1-1 0 0 0
Devon Kennard 1-0 0 0 0
Andy Isabella 1-0 0 0 0
Greg Dortch 1-0 0 0 0
Zach Allen 1-0 0 0 0
Jordan Phillips 1-0 1 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Jimmy Garoppolo 28/40 326 2 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Eli Mitchell 8 36 4.5 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 3 3 0
JaMycal Hasty 1 2 2 0
Brandon Aiyuk 1 -2 -2 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
George Kittle 6 8 101 1
Brandon Aiyuk 6 8 89 1
Deebo Samuel 5 9 63 0
Eli Mitchell 5 5 43 0
Kyle Juszczyk 2 2 14 0
JaMycal Hasty 3 4 11 0
Mohamed Sanu 1 3 5 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
George Kittle 1 1
Brandon Aiyuk 1 1
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 1 1 26 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 4 40.8 2 57
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Trenton Cannon 45 22.5 0 23
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Aiyuk 3 11.3 0 27
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Fred Warner 6-8 0 0 0
Tavon Wilson 5-3 0 0 0
Azeez Al-Shaair 4-5 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 4-4 0 0 0
Emmanuel Moseley 3-2 0 0 0
Nick Bosa 3-1 0 0 1
Dre Kirkpatrick 3-0 0 0 0
Arik Armstead 2-8 1 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 2-1 0 0 0
K'Waun Williams 2-1 0 0 0
Josh Norman 2-0 0 0 0
Jordan Willis 1-3 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-1 0 0 0
Samson Ebukam 1-1 0 0 0
Mitch Wishnowsky 1-0 0 0 0
Mohamed Sanu 1-0 0 0 0
Kyle Juszczyk 1-0 0 0 0
JaMycal Hasty 1-0 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 1-0 0 0 0
Arden Key 1-0 1 0 0


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