The 49ers lost to the Cardinals Sunday in Santa Clara, imploding their record to 3-8 and 0-5 in the NFC West. But, this is the new Niners and we’ve had to trade in our old adjectives, like mighty and powerful, to replace them with spunky and gritty. Awful has made some appearances, too, quite a few, in fact, but yesterday, the team was spunky and gritty. A down to the wire disappointment.
QB Blaine Gabbert had another solid outing, throwing for 318 yards, mostly to TEs and RBs, but only managed to put 13 points on the scoreboard. A whole lot of midfield success and not much in opponent territory. Epitomized by the 18 yard completion on fourth and 20 that ended the 49er chances. Still, this is the offense that OC Geep Chryst and HC Jim Tomsula envisaged at the start of the season. An offense poorly suited to Colin Kaepernick, but right up Gabbert’s alley.
The play-well-at-home, stink-on-the-road defense did a 180 degree turn on the previous week’s debacle in Seattle, harassing Cardinal QB Carson Palmer all day and shutting down his running game, too. The high-powered Arizona offense sputtered its way to a mere 19 points, instead of their usual 30 or 40.
After the game, the players refused to acknowledge a “moral” victory, while clearly doing just that in a relatively happy locker room, obviously relieved not to be embarrassed yet again. They also bitched and moaned about the referees, which technically doesn’t violate “winning with class” since it involved losing without it.
On the bright side, the team kept itself in contention for a top five pick in next year’s Draft. They also held off the hard-falling Rams for last place in the division. This gripping battle for most dysfunctional franchise could go down to the last game of the year, when the Rams visit Santa Clara. for a loser-takes-all battle.
Hang onto your hats, fellas, this season is going to dribble down to its last ugly moments and you don’t want to miss a single whiff, fumble, interception, dumb penalty, or the endlessly vacant stare of Jim Tomsula.