The Arizona Cardinals can place a lot of the blame on self-inflicted offensive wounds for their 32-20 loss in San Francisco Sunday, but Todd Bowles' unit knows its not immune from criticism either.
Despite allowing 171 yards receiving to San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis in the first half of Sunday's contest, Arizona's defense managed to hold rather steady for the first three quarters at Candlestick Park.
However when the team needed a big late-game stand, it never came.
Following a Larry Fitzgerald fumble near the end of the third quarter, San Francisco found itself up by two with the ball at their own 11-yard line. But despite the terrible field position, the 49ers looked like they were in total control of the contest, as they pounded the ball at will down the stretch.
Over the next nine minutes and 32 seconds, Greg Roman called 18 plays spanning 89 yards. Of those 18 plays, 12 took place on the ground, including Kendall Hunter's backbreaking six-yard trot into the end zone. On the touchdown drive, San Francisco amassed 53 rushing yards -- a statistic that didn't sit well with the Cardinals after the game.
"I mean all day we played great against the run," Yeremiah Bell said. "In that fourth quarter, I guess they found something, because they ran the same play seven or eight times in a row to move the ball on us.
"That's kind of a slap in the face to our defense. We know we are better than that. We showed it for the first three quarters but in the fourth quarter we just didn't get it done.'
In the loss, Arizona allowed season-highs in team rushing yards (149) and rushing yards by a single back (Frank Gore, 101).
"For the first time all season, we gave up some runs," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said. "Defensively, we needed a stop right there [to start the fourth quarter], and they went down and made the plays."