There's not much to say other then the fact that the Arizona Cardinals never showed up to play Monday night. It's clear they were looking past the 49ers and San Francisco came in hungry for a win. The Cardinals appeared flat, starting the game defensively with three penalties. Darnell Dockett forced an early interception but the Cardinals offense couldn't get moving. The real story of the game was ball protection. The Cardinals fumbled the ball 5 times while Kurt Warner threw 2 interceptions. I'll make this qucik, so here are some game notes:
- There weren't many. Beanie Wells took over for Tim Hightower and had mild success running the ball, even scoring the Cardinals only touchdown. But he too, could not hang onto the ball.
- The defense had problems but easily kept the Cardinals offense in the game and gave them every chance to catch up. They came within a score at one point.
- Aside from Michael Crabtree's touchdown, the Cardinals defensive backs limited Alex Smith and the 49ers passing attack. Adrian Wilson had another interception to add to his career total at 21.
That's it, really.
- The Cardinals offense was never in sync and turnovers really hurt this team like usual. It's no secret that when the Cardinals turn the ball over more then their opponent, they lose. That's what happened tonight when the Cardinals turned the ball over SEVEN TIMES, and it shouldn't be a surprise they lost. Was it a surprise that they couldn't get anything going and Kurt Warner's 120+ QB rating games stopped at four? Yes. Fortunately Kurt Warner has a bad game every now and then and usually bounces back with dominating performances, which is good news with the Lions and Rams coming up.
- The defense only registered 1 sack on the day and had no answer for Frank Gore. 167 yards and 1 touchdown were Gore's final numbers as the Cardinals couldn't contain him like they did in their first match up. No pressure + no run defense=loss.
Final thoughts: These are just my thoughts on where the Cardinals currently stand. I'm obviously frustrated and I can't tell you how much I wanted this win.
The Cardinals are not the division champs...yet. Don't get down on yourselves Cardinal fans. This game wasn't for the division and the Cardinals would have to lose to the Rams and Lions while the 49ers have to head to Philadelphia and beat the Eagles next week.
ESPN and the national media finally gave the Cardinals recognition, but was it too much? I appreciate it as a fan but this team obviously plays better with a chip on their shoulder and when they're the underdog. The 49ers ALWAYS play the Cardinals well and the games usually go down to the last minute. Not to mention, one of the teams usually sweeps the other in the season, there's rarely been a split as of late. I even chalked this one up as a loss before the season started and I'm not surprised the 49ers were the better team tonight.
Before I finish let me say there are certainly more negatives but the main two were stated above. If the Cardinals offense could have got more points on the board and the defense could've played like they did last week, the Cardinals would've had the NFC West won. I'm not happy with a loss but I will happily except any negative criticism from the media. Let's even take it one step further and declare the Cardinals underdogs for the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs, especially if that means getting back to the Super Bowl. What are your thoughts on the game?