76 degrees and clear
1:25 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1: (SF ball, trailing 14-6 / first-and-10 ARI 44 / 1:17 Q2)
• The 49ers’ four-minute drive here left a little something to be desired. After getting two first downs (one due to penalty and another on a C.J. Beathard scramble), the 49ers drive stalls. The short passing game the 49ers were utilizing was leaving the pass-catcher short of the sticks. A more aggressive passing game with downfield passes might have been more effective. The Cardinals play zone defense and were sitting on these shorter routes, making this tactic difficult to attain first downs.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (SF ball, trailing 14-6 / fourth-and-goal ARI 1 / 6:51 Q4)
• Rather than kick a field goal to make it a 14-9 contest, Kyle Shanahan elects to attempt a fourth-and-goal conversion. Trent Taylor lays out for a pass from Beathard to make it a 14-12 game. They attempted this from an empty formation at the goal line.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (SF ball, trailing 14-12 / 2-point conversion attempt / 6:51 Q4)
• Kyle Shanahan decides to go for two, rather than kick a PAT to make it a 14-13 game. The two-point attempt (a pass to Pierre Garcon) falls incomplete. This is a decision they will regret almost immediately. Arizona scores quickly to make it a nine-point lead. Had they kicked the PAT, it would have been an eight-point lead and it would still have been a one-possession game. They also attempted this from an empty formation.
• The first play from scrimmage was a Josh Rosen 75-yard pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk. So that one play accounted for nearly half of the Cardinals’ 170 passing yards. Rosen missed on some passes and for the second straight week the Cardinals wide receivers dropped a number of passes. But Rosen is paying well. He has developed a rapport with Kirk.
• This was Steve Wilks’ first career win. The Cardinals however were “in” the last two games. They have been competitive for three straight games after two non-competitive losses to start the season.
• The 49ers were without key offensive weapons for most of the game. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was inactive due to some nagging injuries and running back Matt Breida went down with an ankle injury early.
• The 49ers again had issues picking up the safety blitz. This was the second straight week in which Beathard and the offensive line had a problem recognizing and reacting to it.
• Safety Budda Baker is a star in the making. He finished the game with 16 tackles (including 2.5 tackles for loss), a sack, and a pass defended.
• Mental mistakes stymied the 49ers, especially early on. A miscommunication on a PAT attempt, false starts, illegal formations and illegal blocks are all examples of the Niners’ lack of attention to detail on Sunday afternoon.
• The Niners’ use of fullback Kyle Juszczyk is something teams should look at. He is a big part of their passing game and opens holes in the running game. Where does a team find fullbacks considering many college programs don’t use the fullback? They must find them in non-obvious places or manufacture them. But they do have value. Juszczyk is evidence of that. Yet, he was not in the game at the goal line on a crucial fourth down and a 2-point conversion attempt. We don’t know if he was hurt at the time, but it was curious to see that he was not in the game.