With the team being shorthanded, the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) found a way to lose on the road, as they lost to the Arizona Cardinals (3-0) 23-14. A team that was without plenty of key players including TE Vernon Davis, TE Vance McDonald, CB Tramaine Brock, OLB Aldon Smith, and ILB NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers were never in sync aside from their hot offensive start.
An offense that got off to a fast start as QB Colin Kaepernick was a perfect 10-for-10 on his first 10 passes, it was the 49ers offense that jumped to a halftime 14-6 lead. Whether completing passes with pinpoint accuracy or scrambling for big gains outside the pocket, Kaepernick was a one-man wrecking crew as he guided the 49ers to 14 points. The second-half however, was a different story.
On the 49ers first two drives of the second-half the 49ers drives stalled, forcing San Francisco to punt resulting in Arizona getting back into the game and even taking a 20-14 lead. Starting with rookie first-round pick (No. 30) DB Jimmie Ward, he struggled once again for the second consecutive week in the slot, as rookie third-round pick (No. 91) WR John Brown just toasted him for two touchdowns. One was a vanilla fly-route where Ward was expecting help over the top from SS Antoine Bethea but to no avail.
With the Cardinals taking a 20-14 lead, they would hold on as the 49ers shot themselves in the foot with many foolish penalties. From WR Anquan Boldin’s infamous head-butt in the red zone to CB Chris Culliver’s taunting penalty that off-set the Cardinals hold, the 49ers made life difficult for themselves as they tried to steal one on the road.
With Davis out that means more time for Stevie Johnson to be the x-factor! Let’s see if G-Ro uses him in more 3 wide-out sets.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) September 21, 2014
One bright spot was WR Stevie Johnson. A player that I anticipated having a big game as Davis was a last minute scratch, Johnson proved his worth as he caught all nine of his targets for 103 yards.
With the 49ers losing their second consecutive game, they will now have to face an undefeated team at home as they prepare for the high-octane offense of the Philadelphia Eagles (3-0).