Despite the final score of 32 - 20, the game was quite close up until the late fourth quarter. But no matter how many games the Cardinals lose this season one thing is certain, the team has improved from last year. Turns out they haven't improved enough to win yesterday.
Time to breakdown the problems.
Carson Palmer - Frankly, Palmer wasn't entirely awful. However, Palmer's interceptions are entirely his fault at the beginning of the game and for the entire game he struggled with ball placement. Yes, there are plenty of other offensive woes, but Palmer has to stop forcing the ball and making mistakes.
Pass Defense - Specifically, Jerraud Powers and Yeremiah Bell. Vernon Davis had 7 catches for 171 yards in the first half alone. Bell's strong suit has always been against the run, but both he and Powers have consistently been the weak links in the chain allowing opponents tight ends to post career games.
3rd Down Conversion - Don't blame the Cardinals poor conversion rate for Palmer's fault, the blame lays entirely on the wide receivers. Time after time, the receivers makes cuts on their breaks a yard or two short of the first down marking they need to reach. Or Palmer got the ball to them and they would drop the passes.
Fumbles - The Cardinals offense was much better in the second half and after some sustained drives were, at least, keeping up with the 49ers. Only to then have two consecutive Cardinals drives killed by fumbles and then don't forget Peterson's near fumble. If they can't limit their turnovers they won't win games.
Bradley Sowell - The new starting LT had some critical plays where he was completely beaten by the defense leading to a safety and a sack. It seems Sowell isn't too bad, but when he is beaten he won't touch the defender. There were flashes of plays where the line played well, but I don't Sowell is a longterm answer.