Offense

The 49ers’ offense started off Sunday’s game with some great plays from running back Matt Breida resulting in a touchdown. Unfortunately, after the 49ers’ first drive it seemed to go downhill after that. CJ Beathard was sacked four times on Sunday and had a hard time finding his rhythm throughout the entire game, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise given how much he was asked to throw. This followed the major setback of losing Matt Breida in the first quarter, after an explosive start with 8 carries for 56 yards and one touchdown.

George Kittle was another standout player for the 49ers – totalling 5 receptions for a total of 83 yards. Although the 49ers’ offense was not able to score again until the fourth quarter the game remained competitive and close.

In the fourth quarter while in the red zone, the 49ers scored on a crucial fourth down with CJ Beathard throwing to Trent Taylor to reduce the deficit to two points. The 49ers then went for a two-point conversion but were unsuccessful after defensive end Chandler Jones knocked down the pass at the line of scrimmage.

The 49ers defense stopped the Cardinals’ offense which gave Beathard the ball back with a little over five minutes left in the game. After a successful previous drive, the 49ers looked ready to drive down the field but unfortunately the Cardinals’ defense stepped up and took away any chance the 49ers had of coming back into the game. A fumble late in the fourth quarter, caused by Cardinals’ linebacker Haason Reddick, was returned by linebacker Josh Bynes for a touchdown, giving the Cardinals a nine-point lead.

With a little over four minutes left in the game, Beathard attempted to lead the team to a late fourth quarter comeback but was picked off by cornerback Bene Benwikere, which crushed any chances of a victory for the 49ers.

Our offensive line allowed four sacks Sunday, which is somewhat concerning, but hopefully Joe Staley and rookie Mike McGlinchey can iron out their mistakes and come back stronger against Green Bay. Although CJ Beathard showed that he can make plays and drive the ball down the field at times, to say fans are nervous going against a tough Green Bay team is an understatement. If CJ can keep his cool under pressure while making good reads, don’t be surprised if the 49ers pull off a major upset (yes, you heard it here first folks).

Defense

The 49ers’ defense started off the game with a mistake that allowed the Cardinals to score on their very first play with a 75-yard pass from quarterback Josh Rosen. Although the scoreboard shows a completely different story, the 49ers defense definitely stepped up after this touchdown and made life immensely difficult for the Cardinals’ rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen.

After the first score the 49ers’ defense was put in a bad spot after a Beathard interception gave Arizona good field position which led them to score another touchdown. While Arizona scored, it was due to a large fact that they were given incredibly good field position by their own defense.

Following this however, the 49ers shut down Arizona in the third quarter and up until late in the fourth quarter. This was due in part to Richard Sherman. Sherman has not recorded any interceptions this season, yet consistently makes his side of the field a “No Fly Zone”. In a continuation of this trend, Sherman did not allow a single reception to any receiver he was guarding throughout the entire game and has answered many questions on how great he would be coming back from his Achilles injury. This has helped to ensure that one side of a beleaguered secondary looks far more solid.

Another reason for the 49ers’ success on defense was defensive end Cassius Marsh, who had the only sack of the game for the team as well as three solo tackles. The 49ers’ defense held their own and needed help from the offense with points on the board. Part of the blame on this loss must fall onto the offense by putting defense in a few bad situations, but it would be good to see the defense come away with some game changing plays of their own.

Next week, I would like to see the defense continue to reduce the error count and play more physically. Besides that, I see plenty of bright spots in this defense and I’m excited to see what they have in store for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

The 49ers gave the Cardinals the most time they’ve seen in the end zone this season but what the 49ers, or should I say 49er photographer, didn’t give the Cardinals was their group photo after a touchdown and for that, I say “Thank You” to 49er photographer Greg!

Summary

Although the 49ers gave Arizona their first win, there are a lot of things that we can take from this game to help improve on. Mistakes on defense and bad reads on offense are all things that can be worked on and fixed. I am eager to see how the 49ers handle the pressure of playing Monday Night Football against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Hopefully Aaron Rodgers will test Sherman’s side and we can see his first interception of the season as well as Sherman lining up against a returning Randall Cobb.

As for the offense, hopefully star receiver Marquise Goodwin who was heavily missed this game will return to play and help bring some much-needed life into our struggling offense. With Goodwin’s return, we can have a deep ball threat to help switch up the offense. It is dark times right now in the Bay Area with everything that’s transpired the first couple of weeks of the season, but Monday Night’s game can be a turning point for the 49ers to get them on the right path.