Notes from the Nest: Cardinals vs. 49ers
GLENDALE, Ariz. — It seems like it’s been a while since we were last at University of Phoenix Stadium, and that’s because it has been.
It’s been three weeks, actually, since that fateful 6-6 tie with the Seahawks, and following a road game and then the bye week the Cardinals are back with another divisional matchup, albeit against the lowly 49ers.
For the Cardinals, who are 3-4-1, beating the 1-7 49ers is a must. It will be the team’s first game without Jared Veldheer, who suffered a season-ending injury in Carolina and will be replaced at left tackle by John Wetzel.
Even without Veldheer (and Tyrann Mathieu, who is also out with an injury), the Cardinals should beat the 49ers. Should, anyway.
The Cardinals won the coin toss and elected to receive. Here we go.
Catanaro punches it through and the Cardinals win 23-20. Survive and advance…to the next week.
:03 left in fourth quarter
David Johnson picks up some nice yardage and now, following a run to put the ball on the right hash, the Cardinals will bring Catanzaro out with a chance to win the game. It’s a 34-yard attempt.
:57 left in fourth quarter
Palmer took a shot down the field to Floyd, who was open but couldn’t come up with the contested pass. Ball looked a bit underthrown. Next play was a David Johnson run that netted two yards, and the 49ers then used their second timeout of the half.
Arizona is at the San Francisco 35, which, if they get no closer, sets up a long field goal attempt.
1:07 left in fourth quarter
The catch stood and then Cardinals are on the move. A short pass to David Johnson was followed by a 14-yard completion to Fitzgerald, and now the Cardinals are at the SF 37. Seems to be setting up for a Catanzaro FG attempt. Cardinals are down to one timeout.
1:35 left in fourth quarter
After throwing incomplete to Fitzgerald Palmer scrambles and hits Michael Floyd for 26 yards. It will be a great catch — if it stands — as the play is now under review.
1:51 left in fourth quarter
Ellington returns kick to the Arizona 15. Cardinals only need a field goal. Here we go.
1:55 left in fourth quarter
Kaepernick takes a designed run four yards to the house, with Deone Bucannon being the only one who could have possibly made the stop (he didn’t). The 49ers didn’t go for two, which is probably a break for the Cardinals, though now the game is tied at 20.
2:00 left in fourth quarter
Kaepernick just misses Hyde in the end zone as the ball goes through his hands, but then the 49ers pick up eight on a pass to McDonald. 49ers have it 3rd and 2 from the Arizona four. How did we get here?
2:19 left in fourth quarter
So, here we are with the 49ers at the Arizona 12 following a Kaepernick run. It could have been worse — play before Torrey Smith was open but dropped a pass that could have led to a TD.
Note, this is what happens when you allow bad teams to hang around.
3:13 left in fourth quarter
Seemingly ready to put the game away, Palmer takes to the air and throws a strike to San Francisco linebacker Gerald Hodges. So, the 49ers have the ball back at their own 43.
3:44 left in fourth quarter
Johnson picked up seven on a good run, but then went nowhere on the next. On third down, Palmer found Fitzgerald for a 19-yard pickup.
6:17 left in fourth quarter
Cardinals, still failing to get anything going on the ground, pick up a first down on a defensive holding penalty when a third-down pass fell incomplete. They are up to their own 14, but more importantly, will get to chew up more clock.
8:09 left in fourth quarter
49ers move to midfield but are forced to punt when Arizona’s defense stiffens. Pinion’s boot takes a Niners bounce and is downed at the Arizona 4. That’s where Palmer and the offense will go to work.
Arizona’s offense seemed to be in a nice rhythm in the second quarter and then beginning the third, but has stalled since that Palmer fumble.
12:15 left in fourth quarter
The Cardinals, amazingly, have struggled to find running room, and on 3rd and one David Johnson is stuffed for no game. What is happening? Quigley’s punt is fair caught at the SF 26 and it is still a one possession game.
End of third quarter
The Cardinals continue to throw the ball around the field, and as the quarter ends face a third and three from their own 20.
:45 left in third quarter
Somehow the 49ers managed to go nowhere with that possession. Actually, the lost yards. Anyway, they were forced to punt, and it is fair caught at the Arizona 13.
The Cardinals are the better team, but have let the 49ers hang around. Turnovers will kill you, and the Cardinals are losing that battle so far.
1:45 left in third quarter
49ers moving — backwards. A couple of holds negated big runs (or maybe led to them?), and now it’s 2nd and 30 from the SF 48.
3:22 left in third quarter
Cardinals continue to try and air it out, to no avail. On third down Palmer gets the ball to JJ Nelson, but the ball bounces off his chest and is picked off by a diving Eric Reid. He returns the ball to the Arizona 40, where the 49ers take over on offense.
3:52 left in third quarter
Cardinals continue to bottle up Hyde and Kaepernick isn’t finding much down the field, as his pass on third and long sails out of bounds. Punt is returned to the Arizona 35.
5:26 left in third quarter
Cardinals moved the ball some by way of a pass interference penalty, but didn’t get far as David Johnson was stuffed on some runs and a third down pass to John Brown fell incomplete. Quigley’s punt was solid, and the 49ers take over at their 21. This game seemed close to being put away by the Cardinals not long ago, but as of now it is still very much a contest.
8:40 left in third quarter
A 45-yard pass to Patton put the 49ers in Arizona territory, and a short run got them close enough for Phil Dawson to come on and make a 53-yard field goal. So, it is a one-score game again, with the Cardinals up 20-13.
10:56 left in third quarter
Cardinals marched down the field with a long pass to Jermaine Gresham and then one to Fitz, but on first and goal from the seven Palmer is sacked and on second down he scrambles before having the ball knocked away. The fumble was recovered by the 49ers, and a golden opportunity is wasted.
13:46 left in third quarter
49ers start with the ball but go nowhere, in part because of Chandler Jones’ second sack of the game. The ensuing punt is returned to the Arizona 36. Golden opportunity for the Cardinals to really put some distance between them and the Niners on this drive.
End of first half
Cardinals got to the one after a pass interference on a throw to David Johnson, and with one chance from the one threw incomplete to Hakeem Valles. Catanzaro came in for a 19-yard field goal — which he made — and the Cardinals have a 20-10 lead at the half.
:12 left in second quarter
Palmer went deep to Nelson in the end zone but the pass was incomplete. He then hit Nelson for a gain of 12, and the Cardinals are now at the 14. They burned their last timeout, though, so options on this next play are limited.
:24 left in second quarter
Cardinals have moved to the San Francisco 26 with passes to John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. On one Fitz catch he was flipped over, and immediately went to the sideline. He’s left the field and is heading to the locker room.
1:27 left in second quarter
Golden returns the kick 17 yards to the 18, which is where the offense will take over. No risk-it no biscuit time?
1:32 left in second quarter
Phil Dawson is good from 49 yards out, and the 49ers close the gap to one score.
1:37 left in second quarter
Cardinals force the 49ers into a 3rd and 8 and, with help of Markus Golden pressure, drop Kaepernick after the QB scrambles for just two to the Arizona 31. Deone Bucannon was credited with the tackle. The Cardinals call a timeout to stop the clock, and the 49ers will set up a field goal attempt.
2:28 left in second quarter
49ers moving the ball well. Slowly, but well. They have converted a few third-downs and now a fourth down play. All were short, all were successful. They now have it at the Arizona 34.
7:06 left in second quarter
A good stop on the kick return and a penalty on San Francisco left the 49ers with a third and 5 from their five, but Kaepernick found Torrey Smith for 16 as Justin Bethel was beat on the play. Drive continues.
8:28 left in second quarter
The Cardinals respond with points, as a field goal drive featured a 21-yard pass to John Brown as well as a 16-yard run by Palmer. A third-down pass to Fitzgerald netted nine when they needed 10, so Catanzaro came on for the 39-yard attempt.
The score is now 17-7, Cardinals. A quick note about that drive, one of Fitzgerald’s receptions moved him past Terrell Owens for sixth on the NFL’s all-time receptions list.
Still 12:12 left in second quarter
Kickoff is a touchback and Arizona’s offense will begin at the 25. Since their first drive, the Cardinals have had their way offensively, with a good mix of running and passing.
12:12 left in second quarter
And just like that, the 49ers have a pulse. Kaepernick did a good job of finding open men down field, first hitting tight end Vance McDonald for a big gain after Kevin Minter got lost in coverage and then Rod Streater for 11 when Deone Bucannon couldn’t keep up. Then, Kaepernick scrambled some and found Jeremy Kerley wide open in the end zone for a 17-yard score. Marcus Cooper got lost on the play.
With the PAT the score is now Cardinals 14, 49ers 7.
14:42 left in second quarter
A pass interference on a long pass to JJ Nelson set up an 18-yard touchdown run by David Johnson, who went off tackle to the left and dove for the pylon. It was close, but after review the call on the field stood.
The PAT is good, and the Cardinals are up 14-0.
End of first quarter
A third down pass to David Johnson is incomplete, though it looked like the back was held on the play. No call, and Quigley comes on to punt. He blasts one 50 yards, though Kerley was off for a big return when a flag was thrown for an illegal block and then, later, he fumbled the ball. Gabe Martin recovered for the Cardinals at their own 45, so an interesting turn of events in Arizona.
1:54 left in first quarter
After nearly coming up with a fumble (forward progress was ruled stopped, and therefore the play was dead), the Cardinals got their three-and-out with help from Josh Mauro tackling Kerley for a six-yard loss on a sweep. The punt is fair caught at the Arizona 23, which is where the offense — fresh off a nice drive — will take over.
Still 3:55 left in first quarter
Kickoff goes for a touchback and 49ers take over at their 25. Arizona’s defense has been excellent thus far, and could use a three-and-out to maintain momentum.
3:55 left in first quarter
After a short David Johnson run and an incomplete pass to Fitzgerald, Palmer found Johnson on a little out route for a three-yard touchdown. He was open, the throw was good and the Cardinals, following the PAT, now have a 7-0 lead.
It was a good drive for the Cardinals, who showed positive signs of life against a listless defense. In search of chunk plays they found them, and the passing game looked more like it did last season.
5:11 left in first quarter
Diving catches by Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald have allowed this drive to continue, with each WR coming up big for Palmer. The QB is a bit off, but it hasn’t cost them badly.
Cardinals have 1st and goal from the 5.
9:59 left in first quarter
Cardinals get a stop when DJ Swearinger stops Carlos Hyde for a loss of five on 3rd and 2, and the ensuing punt is fair caught at the Arizona nine. Now would be a good time for the offense to move a bit.
11:29 left in first quarter
A deep shot to JJ Nelson that fell incomplete (and was maybe pass interference) was followed by a short David Johnson run and then, on third down, Palmer hit Nelson for a nice gain and a first down. However, Nelson fumbled the ball, and the 49ers recovered at their 49.
The Cardinals are a better team than the 49ers, but turnovers are the great equalizer in the NFL.
12:25 left in first quarter
Defense comes up big for the Cardinals, though the 49ers didn’t offer much in the way of a threat offensively. On 3rd and long after a penalty, Chandler Jones beat left tackle Joe Staley for a sack of Kaepernick. Fans seemed to enjoy it.
A 52-yard punt and short John Brown return later, the Cardinals take over at their 31.
14:05 left in first quarter
The Cardinals started on their 25 and after a six-yard David Johnson run saw Palmer throw incomplete on a pair of short passes. Really, this should be a game for the Cardinals to run, run and run some more, but that drive they took to the air and misfired. Punt goes for 43 yards, and 49ers take over at their 26.
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