49ers Lose 33-21 to Stanton-Led Cardinals on Thursday Night Football

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  Blaine Gabbert #2 of the San Francisco 49ers lines up under center during their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on November 29, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The story of this game, at least for the Arizona Cardinals was the absence of their star quarterback, Carson Palmer, who helps provide the offensive sparks for this team. Led by a considerably worse backup in QB Drew Stanton, they still found a way to secure the victory, beating the San Francisco 49ers 33-21.

Week 5 Preview: San Francisco 49ers v. Arizona Cardinals

Stanton was, by the numbers, awful. He went 11/26 for 124 yards (4.4 ypa) and 2 touchdowns. He still managed to outplay QB Blaine Gabbert, who somehow was worse going 18/31 with 162 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also got sacked a whopping seven times tonight.

The first quarter was an absolute defensive stalemate, or more appropriately, an offensive failure for both teams. Led by Stanton, the short-handed Cardinals could not do anything against the 49ers’ defense. Gabbert didn’t have much success against the Cardinals’ defense either.

After a stalemate in the first quarter, Gabbert found a rhythm. After a few successful scrambles and some long passes to WR Jeremy Kerely, the 49ers struck first with around 4:00 left in the half. Gabbert hit Kerely late in the drive for a 9 yard touchdown pass.

The 49ers’ defense played exceptionally well in the first half, even if they were facing Stanton, who clearly handicaps the Cardinals’ offense. Unfortunately for the defense, Gabbert threw an interception very late in the half. Right after that, Stanton hit WR Larry Fitzgerald for a 21 yard touchdown to even the score at 7 at halftime.

On a bright note, LB Nick Bellore, who had been filling in for LB NaVorro Bowman, after Bowman suffered an achilles injury, was playing very well, finishing with 11 tackles and 0.5 sacks .

The third quarter did not start well for the Niners. On the opening play, CB Chris Davis fumbled the ball and the Cardinals recovered it. RB David Johnson ran it into the end zone to put the Cardinals up 14-7.

The 49ers got pummeled by Johnson all night long. He torched the 49ers’ defensive line, who lacked Bowman, for 157 yards on 27 carries. This is the third straight 100+ yard game the 49ers have allowed by a running back (Christine Michael, Ezekiel Elliot, David Johnson).

From then on, the game got out of hand for the Niners. They punted on their first real possession of the half then the Cardinals wasted no time and struck again. Stanton found Fitzgerald for another touchdown, and the Cardinals led 21-7.

Led by RB Carlos Hyde, the 49ers were able to put together a successful drive and pull within 7, but on the ensuing drive, Gabbert threw another interception, leading to a field goal. On the final drive, in garbage time, the 49ers scored their third touchdown. But it was too late and the Cardinals, led by Stanton, came away with a huge win.

The 49ers are in an awful position right now. They sit dead last in the division with a record of 1-4. Their offense has been questionable, and their defense worse; they cannot find a way to gain any momentum and pick up a much-needed win. Where is Chip Kelly’s brilliant offensive mind? Are his plans in need of a different quarterback?

Tej is a Bay Area native and Senior Staff writer for NinerFans.com. A devout San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors fan, Tej is determined to get you the information you crave. His work has been featured on the FanSided Network, Bleacher Report, and Sports Illustrated.