This is my first time at University of Phoenix Stadium when they’ve had the roof open and it’s a beautiful day to do so.
If the 49ers are going to get their 11th win of the season, they’ll have to do it without Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis who is inactive for today’s game.
49ers inactives: QB Scott Tolzien, WR Brett Swain, FB Moran Norris, LB Patrick Willis, G Daniel Kilgore, G Mike Person, NT Ian Williams
Cardinals inactives: QB Richard Bartel, WR Chansi Stuckey, WR Stephen Williams, FS KerryRhodes, LB Joey Porter, T D’Anthony Batiste, WR Jaymar Johnson
There are quite a few 49ers fans at University of Phoenix Stadium, including the ones below who proudly displayed their “Who’s got it better than us?” sign in the front row.
The 49ers started on offense and gave it to Frank Gore for a gain of 8 to begin their drive. After picking up one first down, they were forced to punt after an incomplete pass on third and long. C.J. Spillman had excellent coverage on the punt, dragging down Patrick Peterson at the 13.
The 49ers defense performed well on their first series. Justin Smith hit Kolb right before he threw for a sack and forced fumble on third down. That backed the Cardinals up to the 8 after they recovered the ball. Ginn fielded the short punt and returned it to the AZ 43. The 49ers are winning the early battle of field position.
The 49ers offense stayed on the field on 4th and 5. Smith didn’t have anyone open early on, scrambled and was able to find Hunter on a check down for a gain of 9. Smith was sacked on 3rd and 15, but Adrian Wilson gave the 49ers a first down thanks to a face mask penalty. Alex Smith was sacked three times on that drive, but the 49ers were still able to get three points on a 46-yard field goal by Akers.
49ers 3 – Cardinals 0
John Skelton came it at quarterback, replacing Kolb who went to the locker room with a head injury…and the Cardinals went three and out. Ginn called for a fair catch at the 33.
Frank Gore eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season after a 20 yard run. C.J. Spillman made a great play on the punt, downing Lee’s punt at the 1.
Skelton threw a nice ball for Doucet, but he was unable to make the grab on third down and the Cardinals went three and out. Ginn returned the punt 52 yards, all the way down to the AZ 4.
Standout Stat: The 49ers are 0-5 on third downs.
Highlight Reel: The last play of the quarter was the best as Ginn returned the punt 52 yards.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have had opportunities, but haven’t been able to capitalize. Ginn couldn’t find a great ball from Alex Smith that would have gave them great field position, if not a touchdown. The 49ers have a good opportunity to punch this one in.
The 49ers again struggled in the red zone, settling for a 22-yard field goal by Akers
49ers 6 – Cardinals 0
Skelton hit Fitzgerald for a gain of 17 to start the drive…that’s a guy the 49ers do not want to see get hot. The Cardinals drive ended as Aldon Smith chased down Skelton as he was scrambling and wound up to force a fumble. Goldson also delivered a good hit on the play and Ray McDonald recovered the ball.
Smith converted on 3rd and long, hitting Crabtree to get just enough to move the chains. The 49ers went with a fake field goal and Andy Lee hit Jonathan Goodwin for what would have been a touchdown. The Cardinals challenged the previous play and the TD was negated. Akers then missed a 50-yard field goal and Early Doucet scored on a 60-yard TD pass from Skelton on the very next play. Talk about a swing in momentum.
Cardinals 7 – 49ers 6
Smith hit Kyle Williams on 3rd and long for a gain of 15 to quiet the crowd. Smith then hit Crabtree on second down on a short cross for another 15 yards. Crab was fired up after the play too. On the next play, Smith hit a wide open Vernon Davis who turned up field for a gain of 32. The 49ers settled for another Akers field goal.
49ers 9 – Cardinals 7
The Cardinals opted to throw on third down as opposed to running down the clock and they paid the price as Dashon Goldson notched his fifth pick in the last seven games.
The 49ers got the ball at the 16, but again had to settle for a field goal as their red zone struggles continued.
49ers 12 – Cardinals 7
Standout Stat: The 49ers have four field goals on four trips to the end zone.
Highlight Reel: Aldon Smith made a great play to chase down Skelton from behind and force a fumble. Goldson also delivered a solid blow.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers have outplayed the Cardinals in the first half, but it’s still just a one-score game. The 49ers need to find a way to punch it in when they get down to the red zone. This game could be 28-7.
The Cardinals backed up on their first drive of the second half after a holding call and a false start penalty. Aldon Smith dropped Skelton at the 1, giving him 10.5 on the year. He’s the first 49ers player with double-digit sacks since 2002.
On the first play of the drive, Frank Gore ripped off a 37-yard touchdown run. The 49ers faked the jet sweep to Ginn and that helped open up the middle for Frank. Gore also got a good block downfield by Crabtree.
49ers 19 – Cardinals 7
The Cardinals beat the 49ers defense on another big play as Skelton hit Fitzgerald down the middle. Goldson went for the pick, but Fitz came down with it and took it 46 yards for the score.
49ers 19 – Cardinals 14
The 49ers went three and out, not a good thing right after the Cardinals start to regain a little momentum. Lee’s punt was fair caught at the 35.
Larry Grant made a great play to knock away Skelton’s pass on third down and force a punt.
Smith hit Crabtree crossing on third down, but was just short of the first down marker.
Skelton his Fitzgerald down the left sideline on the first play of the drive, out near midfield. The promising drive for the Cardinals ended with a Tarell Brown interception, the sixth of his career.
Arizona nearly got a pick of it’s own, but Rashad Johnson was called for unnecessary roughness for hitting Delanie Walker after the ball was deflected away. Smith scrambled and found Walker wide open on third down, but the tight end couldn’t make the easy catch to keep the drive alive. The punt team had good coverage on a short punt from Lee. Peterson was tackled by Dixon at the 22.
Standout Stat: The Cardinals actually lead the 49ers in total yards, 227-207.
Highlight Reel: Gore showed good burst, going 37 yards for a much needed touchdown.
Put it in Perspective: The 49ers offense hasn’t been clicking in the second half and the Cardinals are starting to make plays against the 49ers defense. This will be a big drive for the Cardinals.
Skelton hit Fitz for a gain of 53 to start the fourth. Doucet picked up another first down at the 3 on a bubble screen to the right side. Skelton then hit Andre Roberts on a quick play to the right side. Roberts lowered his should to give the Cardinals the lead.
Cardinals 21 – 49ers 19
Ginn returned the kick to the 27. On 3rd and 2, the 49ers took a shot deep, but Smith’s pass was well out of the reach of Davis. Peterson fielded the punt inside the 5 and returned it to the 14. That’s it for the blog as we have to run down to the field. We’ll have more after the game on 49ers.com.
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