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Cardinals come out swinging against 49ers in San Francisco

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, center, celebrates with wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) and running back Kenyan Drake (41) after scoring against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

It seems the Arizona Cardinals picked up a thing or two from their first matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

After trailing 21-7 just a few weeks prior, Arizona came out firing, taking a 16-10 lead into halftime.

Arizona clearly looked like the team with the upperhand from the start.

The offense struck first for the Cardinals, behind the arm of Kyler Murray.

In part of the team’s 10-play, 76-yard opening drive, Arizona quickly moved the chains, getting to San Francisco’s two-yard line. Murray looked to have tight end Charles Clay for the first score of the game, but an offensive pass interference call on Christian Kirk nullified the score, settling for a 26-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez.

The Cardinals wouldn’t be denied pay dirt for long, though, as Arizona would string together an impressive drive on its second possession of the first quarter.

Completing seven of his nine passes, Murray was sharp in his second drive of the day, capping off the possession with a five-yard touchdown strike to Larry Fitzgerald. Murray accumulated 67 of the 81 yards in the drive. The All-Pro WR now has 19 touchdowns against the 49ers, the most against any NFL team in his career.

Defensively, the Cardinals were an absolute thorn in the 49ers’ side. Through one quarter, San Francisco running back Raheem Mostert paced the team on the ground with just four yards, while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just one of his four passes for four yards. Entering play, the 49ers ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards per game (161.8) and third in total yards (1,456).

The early Cardinals’ lead was something the 49ers haven’t been accustomed to this season, as San Francisco had only trailed in one other game after a quarter of play (Week 3).

Starting the second quarter much like the first, the Cardinals continued to show no fear against the 8-1 49ers.

After Jordan Hicks recorded a sack on the opening play of the quarter, the 49ers were forced to punt two plays later, giving the ball right back to an offense that had no issues moving the ball.

Not missing a beat, Murray went back to work, completing all five of his passes in the nine-play, 57-yard drive and capping off the possession with a five-yard score to wideout Pharoh Cooper.

Through a half of football, the QB has accumulated 108 yards and two scores on 15-of-21 passing. The QB also leads the team in running game, adding another 45 yards on seven carries. Christina Kirk finished the half with four receptions for 32 yards.

And while the 49ers found the end zone in the half, scoring on a four-yard passing play, the defense has remained stout behind Hicks, who leads the team with five tackles and a sack.

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