Effing Arizona. It doesn’t matter if the 49ers are good and the Cardinals are bad, or vice versa, or both one or both the other, it’s always been tough to win down there. Some real heartbreakers over the years. The team always seems to wilt near the end. But it happened to Detroit, too, at the beginning of the season, so maybe it’s just some sort of cactus curse going on down there.
But a win is 8-0 anyway you slice it.
This game was all about Jimmy Garoppolo. 317 yards passing, with four TDs and no interceptions. 11-17 on third downs. None more critical than the three he strung together at the end of the game to burn the final five minutes off the clock and save the day for a sagging defense. And all the while, with the game hanging by a thread, the cameras catch him out their laughing and smiling in the huddle. You can’t teach cool.
Maybe he’s just thrilled to finally have a WR who knows how to play the game and doesn’t drop passes. Emmanuel Sanders had seven catches for 112 yards. Stats the team normally only gets from TE George Kittle. Rookie Deebo Samuel is a tough little guy who might be good down the road, but botching a wide open TD catch is just something you can’t do.
LB Kwon Alexander left the game with a chest injury, which could be a serious blow to the defense if today’s MRI shows a torn pectoral muscle, a season ending injury. The team doesn’t have a solid backup for him.
The 49ers should have given a game ball to Arizona HC Kliff Kingsbury for outsmarting himself. Once at the end of the first half when he pulled one of those ice-the-kicker timeouts, only to see his team stuff the goal line play then get the TD on the next play. Pivotal swing in what ended up a three point loss. And for burning a timeout on a failed challenge during the Niners’ final at bat. Also, on general principles, for spelling his first name with a K.
Next up, Seattle. In a battle for supremacy in the NFC West.