The first touchdown wins the game.
After an afternoon under the Arizona sky that saw nine combined field goals, the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Arizona Cardinals with under a minute left in overtime. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer found veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan succinctly summed up the loss during his post-game press conference.
"I was disappointed. I thought we had the opportunities there to win the game on both sides of the ball a number of times throughout the game, and we didn't get it done. So, it was disappointing."
The win was Arizona's sixth straight against the 49ers, and the third consecutive loss by the 49ers by three points or fewer.
It was a battle through the air, with 49ers' quarterback Brian Hoyer and Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer combining for 100 attempts for just under 600 total passing yards.
However, Hoyer struggled with accuracy and did not get help from his tight ends. Hoyer finished the day 24-for-49 for 234 yards and one interception.
"You gotta throw and catch better. To me it's as simple as that, at least it was in this game from what I saw," said Shanahan. "When guys are open, and you've got the time, you've got to hit them. And when he does hit you, you've got to catch it. I know nobody's perfect, but there was way too much of that between both positions today."
Additionally, the 49ers' offense could not convert on third down, going 5-for-19. It was also unable to move the ball efficiently in the second half and had multiple drives killed by offensive penalties that put the team in second- or third-and-long situations.
"We had some drives going, and shoot ourselves in the foot with a penalty. The difference in the game is one touchdown, and we need to score touchdowns in the red area," said quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Hoyer went out for a play in the third quarter when an Arizona player landed awkwardly on Hoyer's knee. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard entered the game for one play and handed the ball of to running back Carlos Hyde. Hoyer came back to the field after Hyde's run.
Through regulation, the game was a battle of field goals, with 49ers' kicker Robbie Gould connecting on all four of his attempts, and his longest coming from 49 yards.
Like the Week 2 game against Seattle, the 49ers relied on their defense to keep them in the game.
The 49ers' defense shut down Arizona's ground game, holding the Cardinals to 51 yards on 21 attempts and no touchdowns. Coming into the game, Arizona had the 31st ranked rushing game in the NFL, with only 177 yards on 64 attempts and one rushing touchdown.
However, after receiving the overtime kickoff, the 49ers mounted a 17-play drive that took over seven minutes off the clock. While they were unable to put the ball in the end zone, Gould made his fifth and final field goal of the day from 23 yards.
With 2:24 left, it looked like the 49ers could hold Arizona and squeeze out a victory.
It took Palmer seven plays and just under two minutes to drive Arizona down the field and find Fitzgerald for his fourth catch of the day.
"We mixed up coverages, mixed up blitzes when we played zone, when we played man. (We) kept Carson just a little off balance with some more pressure than we've had in the past few weeks," said Shanahan.
Arizona's victory comes at no small cost to Palmer. The 49ers tallied six sacks on the day, with over 14 quarterback hits, and forced Palmer to throw an interception on the opening drive of the game.
Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas recorded his first NFL sack in the second quarter on the fourth Arizona possession. He took advantage of his first NFL start and ended the day with five tackles, a sack, and at least three hits on Palmer. Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong led the 49ers' defense with eight tackles, two assists, a sack, and an interception.
Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner continued to anchor the line, playing 50 snaps and ending the day with a sack, three hits on Palmer, and two hurries.
Veteran Elvis Dumervil sacked Palmer late in the fourth quarter, which brought him to 100 sacks for his career. He sacked Palmer again late in the fourth quarter for his 101st career sack.
The 49ers (0-4) head to Indianapolis next week to take on the Colts (1-3).
|13 (113)||Penalties (Yds)||10 (80)|
|7 (48)||Punts (Avg)||6 (42)|
|33:13||Time of Pos.||36:15|
|49ers Player Stats|
|Cardinals Player Stats|