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Updated Dec 12, 2011 - 12:12 am

Notes from the Nest: Cardinals vs.49ers

End of game

I still can’t really believe it, team started 1-6 and has
since won five of six. In the playoff race? Yeah, they
are. Playing well? Yeah, they are. Any closer to knowing
what they have at the QB spot?

Nope.


1:30 left in fourth quarter

The Cardinals running the best play in the book: the kneel
down. Arizona is going to win this game 21-19, moving
their record on the season to 6-7. I know, who would have
thunk it?


2:10 left in fourth quarter

Campbell swats down Smith’s pass on 3rd and 1 and you know
what that sets up. Smith goes Madden on the Cardinals,
running backwards about 20 yards, scrambling, moving,
giving me time to say “this should not end well for him.”

It didn’t. Ball falls incomplete, Cards take over. Is that
the game?


2:51 left in fourth quarter

Ginn returns the punt 25 yards to the San Francisco 32.
They only need a field goal to win. Defense, it’s on you.
Again.


3:04 left in fourth quarter

Screen pass goes for 11, but Cards will have to punt.


3:14 left in fourth quarter

Cardinals stuffed on a couple of runs, face a 3rd and 12.
A big 3rd and 12.


4:11 left in fourth quarter

Dockett gets a sack, the Niners pick up a few and then
Michael Adams disrupts a pass on 3rd and 6. 49ers forced
to punt, and in a perfect world they’ll never see the ball
again…


5:37 left in fourth quarter

Wells gets stuffed on the run and the Cardinals kick it
away.

It was a good punt, but slowly bounced into the end zone.
Niners begin the drive from their 20, a turnover would be
nice here.


6:41 left in fourth quarter

Cardinals face a 3rd and 1 from their own 34, clinging to
a lead and hoping to eat some clock.

I’d run it again, you should EXPECT your line and Wells to
be able to get one yard. With under seven minutes left a
first down would be huge. Still, need that clock to keep
ticking.


10:03 left in fourth quarter

49rs try to throw deep on 3rd and 2, incomplete pass and
they punt it away. Peterson field the punt inside the
five, takes it out to the 14.

He won’t be praised much, but San Francisco’s punter has
been a beast today. Andy Lee, I tip my cap to you.

Cardinals have the ball with the lead. Do they have
another drive in them? Deep in their own territory, at
least need a couple first downs here to turn the field
around.


11:50 left in fourth quarter

Quick pass to Roberts who scores, and the Cardinals take a
21-19 lead. Skelton with three touchdowns on the day to
match his three turnovers.

Like I said, the good has been real good, but the bad…


12:25 left in fourth quarter

Cards convert a 3rd and 2 with a swing pass to Doucet, and
Arizona has the ball at the San Francisco 3 with a fist
and goal.

Need a touchdown.


End of third quarter

Cards well head into the final period down 19-14, but I
kind of have a feeling they’re going to score another
touchdown. Offense has been right there, just not able to
finish. Defense has kept them in the game, that side of
the ball deserves a win.


:16 left in third quarter

Defense gets the stop, Niners punt. Peterson can’t do much
with it and Arizona will start from the 23. Skelton has
been meh so far. His good has been real good but the bad
has been awful. Offense has shown signs of life this half,
can they put it together?


1:17 left in third quarter

Rashad Johnson flagged for 15 yards after hitting the
receiver in the helmet. Right call, bad timing. But then
again, is there ever a good time for a personal foul
penalty?


1:21 left in third quarter

Coach Whiz challenged the ruling on the field of an
interception. Call stands, Cards lose a timeout.


1:21 left in third quarter

Skelton scrambles around on 3rd and 2, has a guy open in
the end zone but instead throws to Fitz, who sees the high
pass bounce off his hands and into those of a 49er. Big
interception.

4:00 left in third quarter

Cards fore a punt and begin drive from their own 33, and
Skelton immediately finds Fitz for a gain of 15.

Big drive, Cards taking the lead would be huge for their
psyche.


5:52 left in third quarter

Drive stalls, Cards punt. 49ers take over at their 10 and
the Cardinals blow a great opportunity. The defense has
been on the field quite a bit, and while they’re playing
well you have to think they’ll wear down sooner or later.


8:06 left in third quarter

Ask and you shall receive? Alex Smith throws wide of Davis
and the Niners punt, with Peterson fair catching the ball
at the Arizona 35. Solid field position, let’s see if
Skelton can do something with it. Big plays are nice, but
the Cards will need at least a couple of legitimate
“drives” if they are to win this game.


8:58 left in third quarter

49ers begin a huge drive from their 19. The Cardinals have
momentum, does the defense have a stop in them? Maybe a
three-and-out? Field position has not been Arizona’s
friend most of the day.


9:04 left in third quarter

Skelton finds Fitz down the field, with No. 11 making a
great play on the ball for the catch before racing to the
end zone. Cardinals close the gap to 19-14, and Fitz
surpasses the 1,000 yard mark on the season.

Larry Fitzgerald: Making awful QBs look less-awful since
2010.


12:20 left in third quarter

Akers boots the kickoff out of the end zone and the Cards
go to work from their 20. Again.

Hyphen runs for five and, with the game 19-7, the Cards
don’t need to panic. It almost feels that way, though.


12:33 left in third quarter

Announcement comes, Kevin Kolb will not return today.

And, following 37-yard touchdown run from Frank Gore, the
Cardinals may not return, either.


12:33 left in third quarter

The holding penalty was followed by a false start on Heap
(finally contributing?), a short run, an incomplete pass
that almost kills Rob Housler and a sack where Skelton
held onto the ball way too long. Not how they drew it up
at halftime, I’d imagine.

Punt is returned to the Arizona 37 where the Niners will
begin their drive.


15:00 left in third quarter

Cards begin their drive from their 20, where a nice
Skelton to Fitz pass is nullified by a holding penalty on
Jeff King. Great start.


Halftime

Running out of adjectives with which to describe Arizona’s
defense, as they hold the 49ers to another field goal and
head into the half down just 12-7.

Would feel a lot worse about things if Skelton hadn’t
shown something in the first half, but he did. Arizona
gets the ball to start the second half, we’ll see what
kind of adjustments they make.


1:10 left in second quarter

Skelton’s pass is batted into the air and intercepted,
refs miss a pretty blatant pass interference and suddenly
San Francisco is back in business. Can the defense make
another stand?


1:58 left in second quarter

San Francisco puts together a nice drive, but the Cards’ D
holds once again. Akers kicks the field goal through, and
it’s 9-7 bad guys.


6:59 left in second quarter

Niners will begin their drive from the 22, Cardinals have
the lead against San Francisco for the first time
since..seriously, I don’t know when.

Defense is playing great, offense did something. What a
sequence of events.


7:21 left in second quarter

Challenge is…ummm…apparently there was an issue with
the cameras and therefore a replay could not be viewed.
It’s only 2011, why would we expect the cameras to work?
Anyway, Akers missed a 50 yard FG and the Cards got the
ball.

First play from scrimmage is a perfect throw from Skelton
to Doucet, good for a 60-yard touchdown.

Imagine that.


b>7:38 left in second quarter

49ers successfully run a fake field goal, only Coach Whiz
threw a challenge flag right before the ball was snapped.
Cards catch a break no matter the result of the challenge,
which will determine whether San Francisco completed a
pass on 3rd down and long.


11:50 left in second quarter

Skelton somehow avoids a sack, scrambles for a nice gain
and promptly fumbles after taking a big hit. Niners
recover at their own 43.


14:02 left in second quarter

Cards will begin their drive from the 20, looking to build
on the 5 total yards of offense gained in the first
quarter. Yeah, five.


14:02 left in second quarter

Defense does a GREAT job, forcing a field goal. This game
is eerily similar to the one played in San Francisco a few
weeks back, with Arizona’s defense doing its job and the
offense doing nothing. Visitors are up 6-0.


End of first quarter

Another three and out and Zastudil punts from the end
zone. Ted Ginn returns the ball to the Arizona three. Umm,
good luck defense.


1:29 left in first quarter

Defense, though, rises to the occasion, but not without
some help. Ted Ginn lost the ball in the sun or something,
costing the Niners an easy touchdown. Punt is downed at
the 1 yard line in the safety end zone.


2:05 left in first quarter

Niners take a timeout and then get a delay of game
penalty. Maybe Harbuagh also took a blow to the head?

Anyway, the Cards’ defense has been on the field way too
much this quarter.


3:07 left in first quarter

Well that drive was fun, quick. Three-and-out from the
Cards and the punt is away, San Francisco will take over
at its own 33.

Oh boy.


4:39 left in first quarter

Kick is a touchback and the announcement comes that Kolb
left the game due to a “blow to the head.” His return is
questionable, and if Skelton isn’t better against the
Niners this time around the team’s chances of winning is
doubtful.


4:39 left in first quarter

Peterson with a sack on third down, Niners settle for an
Akers field goal. San Francisco takes a 3-0 lead, but of
more concern for the Cardinals is QB Kevin Kolb heading to
the locker room.

John Skelton is warming up in a hurry, looks like he’s
coming in.


6:50 left in first quarter

Cards come up huge with a sack on third down, but a
penalty on Adrian Wilson gives the Niners 15 yards and a
first down. Can’t afford to make mistakes like that,
especially when they keep drives alive for the Niners.


8:35 left in first quarter

Yep, shows how much I know. Smith scrambles and finds
Hunter for a gain of nine and a first down. Carry on.


8:51 left in first quarter

Adrian Wilson with the big hit on Hunter on 3rd and 3,
loss of two. 49ers giving the impression they’re going to
go for it here, would be really huge early in the game.
I’d punt, but I’m also not the NFL coach of the year.


9:55 left in first quarter

Burnsy was right, call was overturned and ruled a fumble.
Zastudil with the short punt, San Fran takes over at
Arizona’s 43. Coach Whisenhunt stressed how important
field position would be today, and so far his squad is
losing that battle.


10:14 left in first quarter

Kolb is hit trying to pass on third down, ball comes out
and is ruled incomplete on the field. However, the Niners
are challenging the call, feeling like it’s a fumble.
Arizona Sports 620’s Dave Burns thinks it was, but the
only thing this will affect is field position since the
Cards recovered.


11:39 left in first quarter

Defense gives up a first down but otherwise does its job.
A
third and medium turns into a third and long after a false
start, and Smith throws incomplete to Crabtree.

Peterson fields the punt — which was a beauty — and is
quickly tackled at the 13.

Offense’s turn…


2 minutes to kickoff

I’ve got my chocolate lava cake a la mode and am ready for
this game. The Cardinals will be kicking to the Niners,
giving the surging defense a chance to set the tone early
on.

Stadium is about 70 percent full, roof is open and it’s a
nice day out.

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