THE GOOD:

…Stop laughing, yes, there was some good about this game (mostly on the defensive side of the ball, but “good” nonetheless).

The Defense –

The 49ers defense and their DC Robert Saleh deserve some credit for their effort put forth on Sunday. Yes, I wish they could have held out one more series, but I find it hard to blame this defense for the losing effort by the team. It wasn’t quite the strong performance as the earlier face-off, but the defense definitely had its moments. The defense forced 2 turnovers and caused a safety that was almost a touchdown early in the game. And though they didn’t kick the field goal, I credit the defense for 5 of the team’s 15 points. For weeks we’ve complained that we were losing the turnover battle but that ended Sunday. The Cardinals only managed to rush for 88 yards as a team, against the 49ers. The defense seemed to hold the Cardinals offense at bay and provide our offense with favorable field position.

Richard Sherman –

I can see it so clearly; Rosen drops back, pumps, then goes deep! The camera pans to his WR who looks to have 4 yards on the trailing DB. The ball is dropping right into his hands! That’s when I accepted our fate: Sherman is gonna get beat deep for this touchdown OR there’s going to be a flag… BOY WAS I WRONG. Sherman was down, but not out! Forced to trail, there was no way Sherman could get his head around and look for the ball. So he played the WRs hands. When he saw them go up for the ball, he stuck his arm out at just the right time! Another PBU in the books! Add to that his 7 tackles and a sack, and you get our Co-Player of the Game!

Ronald Blair –

Blair was in as a rotational player but he made his presence felt at every opportunity afforded to him. It was great to see him coming in and providing depth to the starters. Recording 3 tackles (2 for a loss) and a sack, Blair popped off the screen almost every time he was on the field.

THE BAD:

Cassius Marsh

My first “Bad” candidate is being bumped up from “Ugly” because he had a decent game. Not consistent enough to be in the “Good” but definitely an improvement. Marsh was in the back field multiple times on Sunday and we got to see his karate kick more than once! Both times there were no flags and it allowed his play(s) to stand for a change. He didn’t finish the game with any sacks but he pressured Rosen all day and recorded 2 tackles, 1 being for a loss. Well done Cassius, well done.

Defense in final drive –

This reminds me of why the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. The defense fell apart when we needed them most (again). It seems as if when Saleh and his crew have to step up, they’re just not capable. The Cardinals marched right down the field, got into use endzone and even converted the 2 point conversion when we needed just 1 more stop. Wash, rinse, repeat.

CJ Beathard –

Although Beathard didn’t turn the ball over for the first time in who knows exactly how long, he was still largely ineffective the entire game. A slant pass ran in for a touchdown by Marquise Goodwin heavily inflated CJ’s final stat line. Throughout the game he took too long to get rid of the ball, took sacks at key moments in the game (IE knocking them out of FG position), and either missed on open receivers or went with the wrong read altogether. I know he’s a backup that is definitely doing his best, but we all have to admit it’s been extremely hard to watch at times. Kyle Shanahan didn’t even trust CJ to throw the ball in the red zone after recovering a fumble — he opted to run the ball until it was fourth down and they had to settle for a field goal.

THE UGLY

Matt Breida –

Breida’s performance wasn’t the issue for me, it’s the fact that he was even allowed to play to begin with. The coaching staff should rest him indefinitely until he’s fully recovered from the ankle injury. I wouldn’t say he’s injury-prone, as he’s likely reaggravating the same injury due to not being given enough time to recover. The season is lost at this point, why not let him sit out and rest and not risk causing long-term damage to a player who obviously looks like he can be a game-changer when fully healthy. The 49ers couldn’t even get out of the first half without seeing him down on the turf in pain. If it was my call, I’d say make him inactive until he is fully healthy.

Erik Magnuson’s Final Snap –

Don’t get me wrong — I love Erik Magnuson. I think he’s a man’s man, a true dog on the turf and a gentleman off of it. So in no way am I shaming him for snapping the ball over CJ’s head on the final play, nor am I saying this loss is all on him, because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, we’re talking about ugly aspects of the 49ers’ performance? Well, I’d say this definitely counts as one. When you’re driving to get the team into field goal range so Robbie Gould could come out and attempt to tie the game to send it into overtime, you simply cannot have errors like that occur. Although he was filling in for starter Weston Richburg, at the end of the day there’s no excuse for it.

Cardinals’ Successful Two-Point Conversion –

As alluded to earlier in this article, giving up the go-ahead touchdown on the Cardinals’ final drive of the game was horrendous enough, but then to turn around and allow them to convert the two-point conversion, which made it a 3-point game instead of 2, is again, simply unacceptable. You cannot allow that to happen in the NFL and expect to beat anyone.