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Updated Dec 11, 2011 - 5:12 pm

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?


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.


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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