There have been some truly un-watchable games by the Cardinals in recent years, but this is going to stick around in the minds of all fans for a while. There were so few positives from this Monday Night debacle that I am seriously having a hard time on the "5 positives from the game" article I have scheduled for tomorrow.
To start with, the offense was as ineffective as it could've been. Besides a Jay Feely FG late in the 3rd quarter, the Cardinals offense, led by QB John Skelton, was unable to compete with the #1 ranked 49ers defense. Skelton had a mediocre day, going 32-52 for 290 yards, with 0 TD's and 1 interception. The fact that he had to pass 52 times illustrates how terrible the run game was. RB Larod Stephens Howling was only able to muster up 7 yards off 9 carries. The O-line, however, had a relatively decent day (And by decent, I mean compared to their last three games), as they only gave up 4 sacks.
Although the defense's streak of keeping opponents under 16 points was broken, the final score does not do them justice. Due to the inability of the offense to stay on the field, the defense was constantly heading back into play. In fact, by halftime, the defense had been in action for nearly 20 minutes out of the 30 minute half. 49ers QB Alex Smith had a superb day, going 18-19 for 232 yards, 3 TD's, and no interceptions. WR Michael Crabtree led the 49ers receiving corps with 5 receptions for 72 yards and 2 TD's, and his counterpart, Randy Moss, brought in another one. RB Frank Gore carried the ball 16 times for 55 yards, hurting the Cardinals with big run after big run for multiple 1st downs.
Special Teams was also a low-point for the team, showing that the unit is no longer a strength for the Cardinals. RB William Powell was not able to return the ball once on any of the 49ers kickoffs, and CB Patrick Peterson was also unable to gain any yards on punt returns. K Jay Feely did have a FG late in the 3rd quarter. The 28 yard kick would ultimately prove to be the only points for the Cardinals.
The time of possession for the Cardinals was 28:44, vs. 31:16 for the 49ers. They had 15 1st downs, 7 punts, and 7 penalties, which resulted in 51 yards for the 49ers.
Next week, the Cardinals travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. If the last four weeks are any indicator of what's to come, this is going to be a a long, long game.
But at least it won't be broadcast live on Monday Night Football for the entire nation to see.