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Three quick takeaways from 49ers’ 35-16 win over Cardinals

Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 1, 2023 at 4:41 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers have started the season 4-0 after a strong 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, becoming one of just two teams to remain undefeated alongside the Philadelphia Eagles after the Miami Dolphins faltered earlier in the day.

Once again, the 49ers had a strong offensive performance early, scoring touchdowns on all three of their first-half drives, which led to a season-high 35 points, while the defense was able to hold up with some needed stops and allowing just 16 points to Arizona.

Here are three quick takeaways from San Francisco's 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The offense is better than the defense

Through four games, it's safe to say the 49ers offense is better than their defense. And that's not a bad thing.

While the 49ers' defense has held the edge over the past few seasons with a shutdown identity, the offense has evolved into arguably the best in the NFL, building off their strong finish to the 2022 season.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers have now scored at least 30 points in each of the team's first four games, and the offense saw its best performance on Sunday, scoring touchdowns on five of the team's six offensive drives, a remarkable feat.

The 49ers have arguably the most valuable non-quarterback in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey, who has elevated the offense to new levels, while wideout Brandon Aiyuk enjoyed a six-catch, 148-yard (career-high) performance in Week 4.

But, more importantly, Brock Purdy is looking more and more like the quarterback that San Francisco envisioned he could be this offseason, cementing himself in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL with an elite performance.

Defensively, the 49ers have been good, but there are certain things that still need to be cleaned up, such as their third-down defense and the third cornerback spot.

San Francisco should still possess top-10 units in each area this season, but the offense is better than the defense at the moment, and that'll likely stay the same for the remainder of the season.

Brock Purdy's ascendance

He's started just nine regular-season games in his career, but we're getting closer and closer to anointing Brock Purdy as a true franchise quarterback in the NFL.

Purdy's performance was phenomenal in Week 4. The quarterback completed 20/21 passes for 283 yards and two total touchdowns in the most efficient performance in 49ers franchise history.

In Week 1, Purdy had the best half of his career, but he arguably had the best game of his career in Week 4, and it was a statement game for the quarterback, who only continues to improve as the weeks go on.

I've personally held reservations as to whether Purdy can win the 49ers a Super Bowl, boldly sharing that I didn't believe the team would win one in 2023 with him at quarterback, but the second-year signal-caller blew away expectations in Week 4 and continues to showcase his strong decision-making skills.

I'm excited to see where Purdy grows from here.

Questions to be had

The 49ers have now outscored opponents 127-61 through four weeks, displaying offensive dominance and defensive resiliency to be arguably the strongest team in the NFL through four weeks.

However, there are a few questions defensively that the 49ers will look to clean up as they face tougher opponents, starting in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys.

The 49ers struggled on third downs, allowing the Cardinals to convert on 8/15 of their opportunities, while Arizona compiled 362 total yards of offense.

Overall, the 49ers still limited the Cardinals to 16 points, but Arizona went three-and-out just once on Sunday, with their other drives lasting 7, 10, 11, 11, 13, and 13 plays, which gave the away team a slight advantage in time of possession.

The 49ers are going to need to get off the field more often, and it comes down to third-down efficiency and figuring out some of their coverage issues.

The team will now shift its focus to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, who have yet to put everything together offensively, but have also dominated some of their opponents, and the 49ers will need to be better defensively to control games against better opponents.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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