The 49ers and Cardinals meet tonight in a battle for the basement in the NFC West. That the Niners are engaged in this sort of tawdry affair is no surprise, but Arizona has been a surprise disappointment thus far in the 2016 season.
The 49ers have given the Rams their only loss, the Panthers their only win, and been beaten by a hobbled Russell Wilson in Seattle and a Cowboys rookie backup QB Dak Prescott. Thursday, they are likely to face yet another backup QB, perennial second stringer Drew Stanton.
The Niners are a bit banged up themselves. Standout ILB NaVorro Bowman is out for the year and both starting DEs, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, are hobbled with ankle and shoulder problems. On the plus side, replacing these two with Quinton Dial and Glenn Dorsey might give the team a far better run stopping ability than Buckner and Armstead, who have spent more time skating backwards than holding their ground at the point of attack or watching a play go right through where they should have been providing at least speed bump duty.
Not sure what’s wrong with the Cardinals, other than maybe Carson Palmer morphing into Jake Delhomme after his disastrous game in Carolina during last year’s playoffs. Palmer never has been noted for his big game ability, something he evidently learned during his stint with the Bengals, who seem to specialize in QBs who play great during the regular season and fizzle out in the post season. But Palmer has carried over last year’s epic stink bomb into the first four games of this year.
Whether the Niners win or lose, nothing much will change. They’re still in for a long season of losing more often than not. The Cardinals, though, considered themselves Super Bowl contenders when the season began. A loss to the lowly Bay Area boys would give them a 1-4 record and a long shot to even make it back to the playoffs. Which might prompt hot-tempered Cardinals’ HC Bruce Arians to reprise Jim Mora‘s epic meltdown rant.
Speaking of players not where they’re supposed to be, the Cowboys got in the act, too. The first pic shows the Dallas linebacker perfectly positioned to move to his right and meet Hyde in the very large hole opening up between Dan Kilgore and Andrew Tiller. But …
… in the second pic we see the ILB has moved to his left, opting to expect Hyde to run wide and thus removing himself entirely from Hyde’s path. Carlos widened his eyes, said “Thank you very much” and rumbled straight up the middle for 32 yards, toward the lone safety at the top of the pic, who was no doubt praying somebody would tackle the beast before he reached him. Perhaps the Cowboy LB was auditioning for Trent Baalke in hopes of making our team next year..