Cardinals vs. 49ers: Arizona wants to make a statement

Sep 20, 2014, 3:23 PM | Updated: 3:23 pm

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Perhaps Bruce Arians said it best when he was asked about the rivalry between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

“It can’t be a rivalry if you get your ass kicked this many times,” he said.

Nine of the last 10 times, to be exact, with the average score in those games being San Francisco 25.7, Arizona 12.2.

Incidentally, the stretch of misery began the very first game following the Cardinals’ run to the Super Bowl, where they opened the season with a 20-16 home loss. The season before, Arizona swept the series.

The teams have certainly had some intense matchups and moments over the years, but as far as rivalries go, this one may not really be one.

“There wasn’t any bad from them to us last year because it’s kind of like the Browns and the Steelers,” Arians said. “When you beat them 10 times it’s a rivalry for one team and not the other. I imagine they think the Seahawks are their rival, not us.”

He might be right.

“For us, it’s a divisional game,” former Cardinal and current 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin said. “I think any time you play a divisional game it’s a big game and you want to win. But at the same time, every week is big in this league. So you want to win, but at the same time you have to keep it in perspective.

“If you don’t win it’s just one game, just like any other game.”

Though the Cardinals did not win either meeting between the teams last season, the games did have a bit of a different feel to them. Not only was Arizona competitive, but they had a chance to come away with a win in each matchup.

“We knew that we had that team last year, we could have beat those guys twice,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “Obviously we didn’t.”

Peterson said the Cardinals played “physical football” for about three quarters in each game, but said that is not good enough to beat a team like San Francisco.

“This team knows how to win it when it comes down to the nitty gritty, so as the Cardinals, as a team, we have to play physical football for four quarters, smart football for four quarters, penalty-free,” he added. “I think we have a pretty good shot of winning.”

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