Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Warner calls 49ers’ loss to Cardinals ‘embarrassing’ and ‘unacceptable’

Nov 7, 2021 at 7:45 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defense has seen better days than they did on Sunday, to say the least.

In a performance that will go down as one of the worst in the Kyle Shanahan era, the 49ers defense allowed 437 yards in a 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals even though their opponent was without their starting quarterback (Kyler Murray) and two of their top receivers (DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green). Backup quarterback Colt McCoy finished with 249 yards and one touchdown on 22-of-26 passing.

It was a showing that caused linebacker Fred Warner to be very pointed in his assessment of what he and the other defensive players put on the field.

"It's pretty embarrassing, and it's unacceptable, for sure," Warner said after the game Sunday.

The defense played a large part in the 49ers reaching the Super Bowl during the 2019 season, but less than two years later they're faced with a myriad of issues. One that was on display Sunday was giving up big plays, which led to some Cardinals points that were too easy to obtain.

"Our defense is based on not giving up explosives, so we didn't do our job," defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. "They got too many explosives, and explosives lead to points. We didn't make them earn it. We didn't make them drive the ball. And you have to earn points. They got big chunk plays, which led to scores, which is not what our defense is about. And if we don't eliminate explosives, we're not going to be successful. So, I would sum it up as not good."

Tackling problems helped lead to some of those big plays. The 49ers were harshly criticized for their tackling from the online crowd throughout the game against the Cardinals. Defensive end Nick Bosa says the defense has the personnel to be a good tackling team but weren't executing on the right level on Sunday.

"I think we have good players and we all know how to tackle," Bosa said. "Just not being in the right positions quick enough."

Bosa also pointed out turnovers as an issue. The 49ers' offense fumbled the ball away twice early in the game against the Cardinals, while the defense continued a trend that has them among the league's worst teams in takeaways.

"It's hard to really put your finger on what's the issue, but I think this year with turnovers, we're not getting them and we're giving them up too much," Bosa said. "That's a big sign of a losing team, and that's what we are right now."

In spite of everything, the 49ers still believe they have the right people in place to be a strong defense. The job didn't get done on Sunday, but Bosa says the team has what they need personnel-wise to do things correctly.

"It is surprising because I think we do have the right people in the building, and coaches and players," Bosa said. "I don't think that's the issue at all. But obviously, we're not executing at the right times. And it just shows how competitive the NFL is and how small the margin of error is."

Bosa added, "We have flashes here and there, and we're not putting together full games. We've just got to be better."

The defense will need to find some fixes in a hurry with the Los Angeles Rams coming to town next Monday night. Warner says they'll need to start by putting the game against the Cardinals in the rearview mirror as quickly as they can.

"You watch it, you learn from it, and move on," Warner said. "It is what it is. It's one of those ones that you've got to move past quick. Like I said earlier, it was embarrassing defensively what we put on tape. The way you get that taste out of your mouth is get right back to work."

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