A troubled season for the San Francisco 49ers continues. After leading throughout almost the entire game, the 49ers let the game become a close one in the fourth quarter and lost in comical fashion.
In the first half, the game was the definition of a slugfest, as only one drive for either team exceeded 30 yards. This was not necessarily because of defensive domination, but both offenses looked like offenses of 1-6 teams. However, the defenses were not bad by any stretch, as the 49ers forced a safety on the Cardinals’ second possession on the day. The 49ers could not capitalize on that, though, and after a quick punt the Cardinals marched right down the field for a 78-yard drive and a field goal. The 49ers offense stalled completely afterwards and got lucky to get the ball back off a Jaquiski Tartt interception. This led to a field goal and the eventual and unconventional half-time score of 5-3.
The offensive woes for the 49ers continued in the second half at first. However, midway through the third quarter, it started to heat up. On a 3rd-and-6 CJ Beathard found Marquise Goodwin on a quick slant who beat Patrick Peterson and went on to score a 55-yard touchdown, capping off a 6-play drive. On the next possession the 49ers strung together a 6:14, 73-yard drive for a field goal and sitting at 15-3, the game appeared to get out of hand slowly.
Instead, the Arizona Cardinals woke up on offense themselves. They answered immediately with a 75-yard touchdown drive on their own to cut the lead to 15-10. The 49ers looked to scrape by, though, as the defense forced a fumble on the Cardinals’ next possession. All they needed was to move the offense for a couple first downs, but instead they stalled and were forced to punt again. This left 2:23 on the clock and one timeout for Arizona and the defense, ravaged by injuries, got picked apart by first-round rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. With 34 seconds and three timeouts left, the 49ers found themselves with one last chance to score a field goal and tie the game after the touchdown and successful 2-pt conversion by the Cardinals. And the 49ers did actually move the ball. Three straight completions and 30 yards later, the Niners found themselves at the Cardinals 45-yard line. With 10 seconds and one timeout left, they needed only about 10 more yards to set up Robbie Gould for a game-tying field goal, but C Erik Magnusson snapped the ball over Beathard’s head which sent the quarterback chasing. The pass attempt fell incomplete as time ran out.
This marks the 49ers’ sixth straight loss since losing QB Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn ACL. The 49ers now sit at 1-7 tied for the worst record in the NFL. The 49ers won’t have much time to wallow, as they play already on Thursday Night Football against the 1-6 Raiders from across the Bay. While no one expected the rebuilding 49ers to make a push at the playoffs without their starting quarterback, the recent losses have been incredibly disappointing; for players, coaches and fans alike. The only bright spot is that the upcoming stretch of games is the softest part of the season schedule.