We know who won the game, and we know it wasn't pretty, but how did it happen? Let's find out and take a look at the stats that mattered in the Cardinals loss to the 49ers -- and we'll also wrap up the with the team's final regular season totals, game averages and rankings when we finish.
The Cardinals finish the season in 2nd place in the NFC West and earn a ticket to Carolina as the 5th seeded NFC wildcard team. The franchise's best record since moving to the desert and the eleven wins being the most since the 1975 St. Louis Football Cardinals, who compiled an 11-3 record in a fourteen game season that led the NFC East. Unfortunately, the 2014 record comes with loses in four of the last six games heading into the playoffs.
Points Scored 17-20
We got what we expected in a low scoring affair, but not quite how we expected it. Both teams scored two touchdowns and the difference was in the field goals.
Total Yards 397-395
Somehow it didn't seem like the Cardinals outgained the 49ers by a couple of yards, but they did. For the season, the Cardinals finish 27th ranked in total yards differential at -48.4 yards per game. The only good news being that those two yards broke the 5 game streak of trailing in this category.
Rushing Yards 98-206
The Cardinals get burned two weeks in a row for over 200 yards and the rush defense falls to 13th ranked for the season (see below). When approaching 100 yards on the ground themselves, the Cardinals decided to shut it down (comment below). Arizona finished the year 3-5 in games when out-gained on the ground and 8-0 in games when out-rushing their opponent.
Net Passing Yards 299-189
If it hadn't been for the two sacks, the Cardinals would have surpassed 300 yards net passing for the first time since hosting Detroit way back in week 11.
First Downs 26-18
Who would have thought the Cardinals would have 17 first downs by passing? Add in 7 by rushing and two by penalties and you would have thought the winner would be the team with 26 first downs.
Two games in a row with no takeaways and this time it's three interceptions given up by the offense. Even still, the Cardinals ranked 5th in turnover differential at +8 with 17 giveaways and 25 takeaways this season. But no doubt, turnovers were a big factor in the outcome of the Sunday's game (vote below).
What pressure the Cardinals did apply Sunday, didn't last long enough to result in more than one sack (it was a good one though for -15 yards). When it came to pass protection this year, the Cardinals finished with their lowest sacks allowed total (28) since 2009.
Lots of flags thrown on the 49ers and maybe the score wouldn't have been as close without them. The Cardinals should have no complaints when it comes to penalties this season (see below).
Now a look at player stats
Ryan Lindley passes for 316 yards on 23 completions in 39 attempts (59 percent) with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a passer rating of 70.0.
Michael Floyd with two touchdown grabs and 8 catches total for 153 yards, including the 41-yard TD from Ryan Lindley that put the Cardinals up just before halftime.
Kerwynn Williams, the Cardinals leading rusher gains 67 yards on 17 carries for a 3.9 yards per attempt. The question was, why not more Kerwynn Williams?
John Brown snares 4 passes for 51 yards as the Cardinals 2nd leading receiver Sunday. Unfortunately, 9 targets were needed for the four catches.
Glenn Carson leads the Cardinals in combined tackles with 6 solo tackles and 3 assists; Calais Campbell with 5 tackles (two for loss) and a pass defense; Kevin Minter with 6 solo tackles; Sam Acho credited with a 15 yard quarterback sack.
Final Regular Season Numbers
|Points Scored||19.4 (24th)||18.7 (5th)||+.7 (16th)|
|First Downs||18.9 (23rd)||18.8 (2nd)||+.1 (16th)|
|Total Yards||319.8 (24th)||368.2 (24th)||-48.4 (27th)|
|Rushing Yards||81.8 (31st)||108.7 (13th)||-26.9 (26th)|
|Passing Yards||238.0 (14th)||259.5 (29th)||-21.5 (22nd)|
|Pass Percentage||56.3 (31st)||63.0 (17th)||-6.7 (30th)|
|Interceptions||12 (8th)||18 (7th)||+6 (7th)|
|Fumbles||5 (3rd)||7 (23rd)||+2 (9th)|
|Sacks||28 (7th)||35 (23rd)||+7 (10th)|
|Penalties (for/against)||8.1 (2nd)||5.7 (6th)||+2.4 (2nd)|
|Time of Possession||29:48 (19th)||30:12 (19th)||-:24 (19th)|
Interesting stuff when you consider the team went 11-5 and you factor in any category the contains the word yards. We'll be checking into these numbers more closely in a future story, but feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the meantime and don't forget to vote on the poll.
For those interested in the relative value of statistical categories pertaining to victory, click here