Arizona Cardinals, Inspired or Expired?


A far cry from the six points and 232 yards per game the 49ers managed in their first two games.

The 49ers fall to 0-4 in coach Kyle Shanahan's first season.

The 49ers had been concerned about their pass rush after mustering three sacks - all against Seattle - through the first three games. It was fun to watch Carson Palmer get hit 16 times and sacked six. Arizona drove down the field to open the game, but Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted Carson Palmer in the end zone to keep the Cardinals from scoring. Palmer would go 5-7 on the winning drive, leading the Cardinals 75-yards down the field.

The good news for the Cardinals is they're starting to get some of their injured starters back, particularly on offense. The same can be said on the other side of the ball.

Despite its offense being unable to find the end zone for the entirety of the game, the 49ers defense was able to force the Cardinals into the same situation - until the last play of the game, that is. Carlos Hyde led San Francisco with 25 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Pierre Garcon was the high man in receiving with seven catches for 142 yards. Instead, San Francisco had to settle for its third field goal of the game.

But the defense couldn't get the last stop when it needed it most on the final drive.

San Francisco's offense had a breakout game last week against the Los Angeles Rams, racking up 39 points after failing to score a touchdown in the opening two games.

The Cardinals' injury-riddled offensive line is presently being pieced together with duct tape, and it showed once again Sunday.

It was the third time this season that Hoyer, who finished with 8.66 FanDuel points, didn't crack double digits. Whether it was a result of Arizona's pressure or a lack of chemistry between his targets, Brian Hoyer continued his inconsistent play.

Hyde is now averaging a career-best 5.2 yards per carry through three games and scored two touchdowns in last week's loss to the Rams. An 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Breida was wiped out due to an offensive pass interference penalty against Taylor.

"I feel like we're going in the direction that I hoped we'd be going", he said.

"Things are going fast, you're trying to get the communication in for the calls, you get it to NaVorro, he relays it to the D-Linemen, the secondary", Shanahan said. He used that experience to advise recent No. 3 pick Solomon Thomas, who's gotten off to a slow start as a pro with just one quarterback hit through three weeks.

The road doesn't get any easier for the 49ers.

That three-game stretch will help reveal whether the Cardinals are a genuine playoff threat in the NFC.

The 49ers lost a barn-burner in San Fransisco for Week 3's Thursday night game. While we're still blessed with the presence of Larry Fitzgerald, throwing gives the birds the best chance at winning. We're a team. We don't hate each other because of our different beliefs and I think that's something that the country needs to understand as well. Our guys fought hard, they wanted to win as much as anyone.

"We ended up getting to the right spots, but we were a foot behind, and when you do that versus a good quarterback and especially (Fitzgerald) going down the seam, they made us pay".