ARIZONA CARDINALS

Rapid reactions: Things go south in Mexico City as Cardinals fall to 49ers

Nov 21, 2022, 10:31 PM | Updated: Nov 22, 2022, 3:08 pm

The victims of a physical San Francisco 49ers run attack, the Arizona Cardinals fell to 4-7 on a Monday Night Football visit to Mexico City.

Arizona Sports hosts, editors and reporters react to a brutal defeat that nearly has put the Cardinals’ postseason hopes to bed in Week 11.

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Well, that’s three hours of our lives we won’t get back. The Cardinals were humiliated on Monday Night Football, and now any slim chance they had of making the playoffs after beating the Rams last week is dead. Manhandled at the line of scrimmage. Physically dominated by a far superior team whose downfield blocking on several key plays was impressive but also showed an incredible lack of desire by Cardinals defenders to make a tackle or even read a play.

The Cardinals were predictable. Run on first down for little to no yards. Pass on second down when they were in second-and-long. Look, San Francisco is really good. The Niners should be the favorites in the NFC, but to play like that is inexcusable. The Cardinals hung for a half, but even in the first half, you had the feeling that the 49ers were on the verge of blowing them out. And they did just that by outscoring Arizona 21-0 in the second half.

San Fran ran 28 times for 159 yards at a 5.7 yards per carry clip. Arizona ran the ball 24 times for 67 yards at a 2.8-yard clip. Sure, Arizona is missing some key offensive linemen. But damn, that was ugly. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for four touchdown passes with no interceptions. The business decision Antonio Hamilton made in not even attempting to tackle George Kittle on a fourth-quarter touchdown play should at the very least have him benched next week. This season has been a disaster, and it only got worse tonight.

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: It’s hard to know where to start after a game like this one. It was such a complete team loss, such a thorough beatdown. The kind of game that shines a bright light on all your problems. Problems with the defense, problems with the talent deficit, problems with the injuries, problems at quarterback and problems with the now virtually impossible task in front of you.

A 1-4 record in the division? 5-1 just to get to 9-8 on the season? Yeah, um, no.

None of it was even close to good enough versus the 49ers, who just showed the entire league their killer combo of great talent and elite coaching. Yeah, it’s embarrassing and humiliating and all that but it also leaves you feeling so … empty.

The challenge now is that the Cardinals still have six games left, and that’s way too many games remaining to have this little hope. How many of those six will feature Kyler Murray and what version of him will we see? Don’t know.

What’s going to be the players’ level of buy-in for a season that had its fate sealed before Thanksgiving? Don’t know. Kliff Kingsbury and the Cards are now 5-12 in their last 17 games played (thanks, Blake Allen Murphy), representing a full NFL season. What does that mean for Kingsbury or for Steve Keim? Don’t know.

The season is adrift. How the players respond to it or what management does about it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Tyler Drake, Cardinals reporter and editor of ArizonaSports.com: That was a loss that I’m not sure the Cardinals climb out from. Plain and simple: The 49ers had more hustle, passion and talent in the Mexico City matchup.

Any kind of playoff hope the team had got ground out by the 49ers running game on Monday Night Football.

Colt McCoy was unable to replicate all the good he did last week behind an offensive line that could not handle San Francisco’s pass rush. The running game was just as bad with an average of 2.8 yards per carry on the evening.

First-down execution was rough, especially in the first half behind a handful of negative plays. That kind of start isn’t going to yield much success regardless of who is on the roster.

The Rondale Moore injury just adds to the issues from the matchup, although it provided Greg Dortch a golden opportunity to show off his abilities once again after being phased out for some reason.

At this point of the season, Dortch should get his touches. He’s proven to be one of the team’s most consistent pass catchers when he’s on the field. Play the torch!

But outside of Dortch and another strong outing from DeAndre Hopkins, there’s hardly any positives to take.

The hole in the division and NFC Wild Card remains large. With the current state of this franchise, even the most optimistic of us all are probably about a week or two out from really shutting the door on this season.

We very well could be onto 2023 (and dare I say mock drafts) by the time Kyler Murray and Hollywood Brown return from their respective injuries.

Kevin Zimmerman, lead editor of ArizonaSports.com: As it is with this team when things go wrong, listing the problems are akin to beating a dead horse. Although you couldn’t accuse Kliff Kingsbury of not sticking with a game plan.

Unlike the quick hit dink-and-dunk ways of beating a struggling Los Angeles Rams team a week ago, the Cardinals committed to their run game Monday to worrying results. The lack of pop from James Conner only put a microscope on the Eno Benjamin cut from last week. Conner finished at 3.0 yards per carry, with a tipped catch attempt that led to an interception.

Of course, the injury-decimated offensive line had a lot to do with that. Blown protections bit Arizona plenty in pass protection, too.

The defense, though, indicated the worst of things. Vance Joseph’s crew held stout in the first half but looked either gassed or unmotivated or out-schemed — maybe all of the above — in the second half once 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan began hammering the run calls.

It’s hard to say where the blame goes, but along with that, it’s hard to see where accountability rears its head with this team.

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Rapid reactions: Things go south in Mexico City as Cardinals fall to 49ers