The 49ers finally found a way to corral Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Saturday in Arizona. All it took was losing their star pass rusher and three quarters of the secondary, then starting their 3rd string QB and RB while missing their number two WR and limiting their number one WR to one catch.
Presto! The team also decided to rub it in by having kicker extraordinaire Robbie Gould shank two FGs and an extra point, which left seven points off the scoreboard.
The 49er offense boiled down to three guys: CJ Beathard, George Kittle, and Jeff Wilson. Beathard threw for 182 yards, Kittle caught 4 passes for 92 yards, and Wilson ripped off 183 yards rushing plus another 21 as a receiver.
Tarvarius Moore filled in for Jimmie Ward and he was making plays all over the field. Ahkello Witherspoon subbed in for Richard Sherman and the much-maligned CB played well, even making a game saving end zone interception late in the fourth quarter. Jason Verrett held Arizona’s top WR, DeAndre Hopkins, to 8 catches for a measly 48 yards.
The loss may have knocked the Cardinals out of the playoffs, which would allow Niner fans to enjoy the misery of an opponent instead of the misery of themselves. AZ would need to beat the fading Rams next week and have the Bears lose to Green Bay in order to slither into the final postseason slot. Most likely, it will be the Bears who get sent home early.
The final game of the year against the Seahawks should have been a doozy, but instead is probably meaningless to either team. The NFC East winner will have either a 7-9 or a 6-10 record, with only the Eagles eliminated from the mix.
With one game left for the regular season, it looks like the NFL, despite long odds and a few blatantly unfair games, will succeed in getting an entire season in the books. Too bad. This is one year I would not have minded seeing the season tossed into the toilet.