The San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals battled through overtime in a low scoring game that ended with a walk off win courtesy of a familiar foe. The end of this game will surely sting the team and their fans for a long time. While the box score left more to be desired from both teams, here are three 49ers takeaways from the game.
Week Four San Francisco 49ers Takeaways
As the final score indicates, this was an ugly offensive game. Aside from a few play action throws, the 49ers passing game is still a work in progress. Whether it was a result of Arizona’s pressure or a lack of chemistry between his targets, Brian Hoyer continued his inconsistent play. After wide receiver Marquise Goodwin left the game with a concussion, Hoyer was unable to find chemistry with his other receivers.
Along with multiple hurried throws, Hoyer seemed to be out of rhythm for most of the day. This was evident on a third and three in the redzone during the second quarter, Hoyer was caught up watching his protection and didn’t see rookie tight end George Kittle open beyond the sticks. This would have setup first and goal in a game where the team was unable to score a touchdown.
It was more of the same to start out the second half, after the offense marched down the field on their opening possession a costly offensive pass interference call set them back. In the blink of an eye, first and 20 became second and 30 which lead to another field goal. That narrative continued throughout the game as crucial drops and 13 penalties caused multiple drives to stall out.
The touchdown to running back Matt Breida that was called back on the opening drive of the second half was a painful error as it wiped away what could have been the difference in this game. It was the second week in a row where an offensive penalty on rookie wide received Trent Taylor ended up costing the team. This was also their third game without a touchdown this season.
Defense Flashes Potential
The defense seemed to be playing a, “bend but don’t break,” philosophy to start out the game. Despite not being able to initially get to quarterback Carson Palmer on the opening drive, a well timed blitz caused a hurried throw that was intercepted in the end zone. As the first half wore down, so did the Arizona offensive line giving due to consistent pressure by San Francisco’s front seven.
DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas were able to get to Palmer continually, causing him to rush through progressions and get rid of the ball. Thomas diaplyed the motor that he became know for in college as he recorded his first career sack. A gift wrapped interception was dropped by NaVorro Bowman as the pressure and hits on Palmer added up. Even if Bowman wasn’t able to make much of a return out of the turnover, it would have setup a short field for at least another field goal attempt before the half ended. The secondary is still a question mark though, Arizona was intent on testing cornerback Rashard Robinson
A defensive pass interference call helped Arizona move down the field on their first possession of the second half. Buckner was able to bull rush his way to a sack to end one drive and then deflected a pass on third down to shut down another. Coming into this game the defense had totaled three sacks on the season but were able to break out for six sacks in this game. Overall, the defense managed to hold Arizona to field goals instead of touchdowns. In a game where the offense struggled to extend drives, the defense did their part to keep the score close in a field position game.
Self Inflicted Wounds
Penalties, turnovers, and drops are all fundamental errors that can be improved over time, but these issues continue to cost San Francisco late in games. While fans and the experts expected there to be growing pains, the 49ers have now lost three straight games in which they were in position to win. These types of losses have a way of lingering with a team which make the eventual climb out of the NFC West cellar even more steep. Not only were these last three losses painful, but they all came at the hands of division rivals by a combined eight points.
These types of games will provide a great test for the resolve of this team. It’s certainly been a trial by fire for Kyle Shanahan and his staff but the fact that these games are up for grabs can serve as a rallying point for the locker room. Bitter losses will surely make future victories taste especially sweet but for now team still has a long way to go.