It’s Fan Appreciation Day at Candlestick Park for the 49ers final contest of the season. Both the 49ers and Cardinals are 5-10 and the winner will finish third in the NFC West. It’s been a busy week for the 49ers as Mike Singletary was let go after the team returned from a loss in St. Louis. Jim Tomsula was named interim head coach and addressed the media on Monday. Enthusiasm for his job is definitely not an issue for Tomsula, a former head coach in NFL Europa.
49ers – 3rd QB David Carr, CB Will James, CB Phillip Adams, LB Patrick Willis, LB Keaton Kristick, DT Will Tukuafu, T Joe Staley and TE Nate Byham.
Cardinals - 3rd QB Derek Anderson, CB A.J. Jefferson, CB Marshay Green, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, LB Gerald Hayes, LB Joey Porter, C Ben Claxton and TE Ben Patrick
Stay tuned to this blog for more updates throughout the game.
Andre Roberts fielded the kick for the Cardinals and took it out to the 22. Takeo Spikes read the run by Tim Hightower on first down, hit the gap and stopped him after a gain of 3. Skelton completed to Roberts as spikes came on the blitz on second down, but Bowman was there to stop him for a short gain. On 3rd and 4, the Cardinals were called for a false start. On 3rd and 9, Lawson and Spencer met at the quarterback. Lawson came up the middles as Spencer blitzed from the left side to drop Skelton for the sack. Ginn bobbled the punt, but was able to recover at the 40.
After being stopped for no gain of first down, Westbrook picked up 5 on second down. Anthony Davis got into a shoving match with Dockett after the play. On 3rd and 5, Smith hit Ginn who couldn’t get back up field and was stopped just short of the first down marker. Lee’s punt was fair caught at the 12.
Hightower got the ball on 1st and 2nd down and picked up 6 yards total. Out of the shotgun on 3rd down, the 49ers only rushed three and Skelton’s pass was too high and incomplete. Graham’s punt was short and rolled to the SF 44.
Smith was under heavy pressure on first down, but got the ball to Davis on the screen. Davis gained 17 yards down the left sideline. On 3rd down, Smith hit Crabtree crossing, but Wilson made a good play to make the tackle at the 34. Just outside of field goal range, Tomsula sent in Lee to punt. Spillman made a great play to prevent the punt from going into the end zone and it was downed at the 1 by Bowman. Whisenhunt challenged the call that Spillman was not in the end zone when he touched the ball. The officials overturned the call and said it was a touchback.
On 1st down, the right tackle was called for a false start. On the next play, Smith threw down Skelton for a sack back at the 6. Wells got the carry on second down and gained only a couple to set up a 3rd down and 20. Skelton tried to hit his running back out of the backfield on 3rd down, but the pass was high as the 49ers came with a blitz. The punt rolled out of bounds at the AZ 47. The Cards were called for holding on the punt, giving the 49ers 10 yards after the kick.
On the first play of the drive, Smith threw a beautiful ball for Ted Ginn in the front right corner of the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. The ball was perfectly throw as Ginn didn’t have a whole lot of room in between two defenders.
49ers 7 – Cardinals 0
The 49ers continued to get good pressure on Skelton as Goldson blitzed and dropped him for an 8-yard loss on first down. On 3rd and 19, Lawson chanced Skelton out of the pocket and all the QB could do was throw it away. The punt rolled out of bounds at the 43.
On 1st down, Smith was dropped for a sack at the 38. The 49ers made up for it on the next play as Smith hit Walker on a slant and a first down inside Arizona territory. Smith started the game 6 of 6 passing as he hit Morgan against man coverage for a gain of 32 down the right sideline. On 1st down, Smith tried to hit…Adam Snyder…but the ball was a bit too high. What a way to end the first quarter! Snyder got high fives from Tomsula as he headed to the bench.
Standout Stat: Arizona has -14 total yards of offense. They have no first downs in the first quarter.
Highlight Reel: The touchdown pass to Ginn was perfectly thrown by Smith, who has started the game 6 of 7 passing for 110 yards and a QB rating of 158.3.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers are outplaying the Cardinals in every phase of the game. It looks like the 49ers game plan was to pressure the rookie quarterback as they’ve already sacked Skelton three times. Smith has played a perfect game thus far, making several explosive plays down the field.
On 3rd down, Smith was sacked by Dockett. Reed connected on a 39-yard field to give the 49ers a two-score lead.
49ers 10 – Cardinals 0
Arizona got their first 1st down of the game on a quick pass to Fitzgerald up the right sideline. Skelton scrambled for a gain of 6 on 2nd down. On 3rd and 5, Skelton hit Hightower on a screen, but the rookie Bowman was right there to drop him for a loss of 4. Ginn called for a fair catch at the 5.
Dixon got the carry on 1st down, Westbrook on 2nd to set up a 3rd and 4. On 3rd down, Smith tried to hit Westbrook on an out route, but the ball was too high. Lee’s punt was short and took a bad bounce back to their own 37 to give Arizona great field position.
Wells had a good run on first down, getting some blocks to get around the left edge and pick up 7. The cards tried a flea flicker on 2nd down, but Clements made a great break on the ball to knock it away. On 3rd and 3, Skelton hit Max Komar on the left sideline for a gain of 8. On 3rd and 8, Skelton hit Fitzgerald with two defenders guarding him to get the first down. Tomsula challenged the ruling that Fitz got both feet in bounds. The play was upheld and on the next play, Skelton hit Fitzgerald on a skinny post for a touchdown.
49ers 10 – Cardinals 7
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 19. On 1st down, Smith hit Crabtree down the right sideline on a comeback for a gain of 12. On 3rd and 3, Smith tried to hit Delanie Walker on an out route. The ball was well thrown, but Walker had it bounce right off his hands. Spillman had great coverage to drop Roberts right as he fielded the punt. Spillman was also blocked in the back so the Cardinals will start their drive at the 9.
On 2nd down, Skelton had tons of time to throw and hit Fitz for a gain of 14. On the next play, Hightower had some running room to the right side and picked up 10. Hightower had another nice run on the next play, getting around the left edge this time for 9. on 3rd and 1, Hightower gained 3 yards on the carry up the middle to move the sticks. On the next play, Lawson flew around the right side of the line to drop Hightower for a loss of 3. On 3rd and 13, Skelton hit Hightower underneath short of the first down and Tomsula called timeout with 1:48 left in the half. Ginn signaled for a fair catch at the 18.
Ginn was called for a false start before the first play. On 1st down, Smith tried to hit Ginn on a go route down the middle but Lenon made a good play to bat it down. On 2nd down, Westbrook got the carry up the middle and picked up 9 as Whisenhunt called timeout. On 3rd and 6, Westbrook got the carry again and got the first down thanks to several broken tackles. On the next play, Smith hit Morgan who turned up field and got out of bounds at the AZ 43. Smith took a shot in the end zone for Morgan, who must not have saw it until very late as the ball looked catchable. Adrian Wilson threw down Westbrook by the helmet and he stayed on the ground for a while. he was able to get up and walk to the sideline on his own power. Dixon got the carry on 3rd down and the 49ers let the clock run out on the half.
Standout Stat: Smith is 9 of 15 passing for 152 yards and one touchdown for a QB rating of 116.5.
Highlight Reel: The Cardinals could have gotten the ball back with some time left in the half, but Westbrook spun to break one tackle and lowered his shoulder to move the chains.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers could have used some points on the final drive of the half, but they will get the ball to start the second half. After 3 sacks in the first quarter, the 49ers didn’t blitz as much in the second quarter as Skelton started to have more time and eventually developed a rhythm with Larry Fitzgerald. For as well as the 49ers played in the first quarter, they must be disappointed to lead by just three at the half.
Ginn returned the kickoff to the 25. On 3rd and 8, Smith hit Westbrook out of the backfield who got some revenge against Wilson as he broke the tackle to pick up the first down. Two plays later, Smith hit Davis over the middle. Davis broke it out to the right side and outran Wilson for a 59-yard touchdown.
49ers 17 – Cardinals 7
Roberts returned the kick to the 35. Skelton’s third down pass was too high for Hightower and the Cardinals will punt. The punt bounced in front of Ginn and rolled out of bounds at the 22.
The Cards were called for a false start as Smith took a shot deep but incomplete intended for Crabtree. Crabtree drew a holding call on the next play to give the 49ers a first down by way of two penalties. On 1st down, Dixon had some running room up the middle for a gain of 8. Westbrook then had some room up the right side thanks to some great blocks by the line to spring him for a gain of 30. On 2nd and 6, Smith made a play with his feet to escape pressure to the left side and throw it against his body to Davis for 20 yards. On 2nd down, Wetsbrook tripped up at the line of scrimmage, but was not touched until he dove forward for the end zone.
49ers 24 – Cardinals 7
Roberts returned the kick to the 27. On 2nd down, Skelton hit Fitzgerald on a comeback to move the chains. Two plays later, Skelton’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Ray McDonald and picked off by Ahmad Brooks who returned it to the 8.
On 2nd and goal, Westbrook to it on from 6 yards out for his second touchdown of the game.
49ers 31 – Cardinals 7
Roberts returned the kick to the 30. On 1st down, Skelton hit Breaston to the right side for a gain of 5. On 3rd and 3, Skelton hit Roberts who got some separation against Clements to the right side for a first down. On 3rd and 10, Skelton tried to scramble but was stopped by Smith and Haralson after a gain of just three. The Cardinals downed the kick at the 1, but the man who touched it ran out of bounds, resulting in a touchback.
On 3rd down, Smith tried to hit Crabtree crossing, but the coverage was good and the pass was incomplete. Lee got off his best punt of the day as Roberts was stopped at the 24. It was a 60-yard punt. It was called back though after a penalty by Bowman. On the second punt, Roberts returned the kick to the 40.
***Richard Bartel came in at quarterback for his first-ever NFL snap***
On 2nd down, Bartel didn’t have anyone open, but was somehow able to get it away to avoid the sack by Brooks. On 3rd and 2, Bartel lobbed it deep for Fitzgerald…who’s pretty good…and he snatched it in between two defenders for a big gain. On the next play, Bartel hit Fitzgerald again and he got down to the goal line. On the next play, Clements was one-on-one and made a great play to knock away the fade pass to Fitzgerald. On 2nd down, McDonald got into the backfield to drop Hightower for a loss. That’s the last play of the third quarter.
Standout Stat: The 49ers have 333 yards of offense while the Cardinals have just 164.
Highlight Reel: Davis outran the Cardinals secondary for a 59-yard score that set the tone for the half.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers look like they will get their fourth straight win over the Cardinals. They’ve played well in every phase of the game and interim head coach Jim Tomsula should be able to go 1-0. The 49ers are also taking advantage of the lead, giving more reps to the younger players like Brock, Boone and Mays.
On 4th and goal, Bartel tried to hit Fitzgerald at the goal line, but Brown made a good play to knock it away – turnover on downs.
The 49ers got a little room to work thanks to and offside call against the Cardinals. On 2nd down, Smith took a shot deep for Davis, but Wilson had pretty good coverage. Smith’s third down pass was just out of the reach of Ginn. Roberts fielded the kick around midfield.
On 3rd and 2, Bartel’s pass for Fitzgerald was too wide. Roberts was wide open on 4th down, but Bartel’s pass was nowhere close.
On 2nd down, Smith hit Crabtree down crossing to the right for a gain of 18. Two plays later, Smith was hit as he threw for Crabtree who made a nice leaping grab for a first down despite pass interference. On 3rd and 14, Smith tried to hit Crabtree in the end zone, but the pass sailed a bit too long. The punt was downed by Brian Jennings at the 7.
Bartel picked up a first down on a nice pass and catch to Breaston up the right sideline as the Cards go to the hurry up. On 3rd down, Wright got the handoff on the draw and picked up another first down.
We have to go down to the field now, but we’ll update the final score on Twitter.
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