This is a game that the San Francisco 49ers would have liked to have, especially because it was against the division rival Arizona Cardinals. In what was expected to be a blowout, however, QB Colin Kaepernick showed up and the 49ers’ defense showed up.
In the end, however, the Cardinals were too much.
Kaepernick, a rather bright spot, finished 17/30 with 210 yards and a touchdown. He also had 10 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
This game, contrary to the others, did not start off how it usually does, with the 49ers showing offensive sparks in the first and second quarters. Rather, the Cardinals took a quiet 7-0 lead at the end of the first.
The 49ers had nothing but punts, although CB Keith Reaser forced a fumble at the 49ers’ 49-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Niners, 3 quick plays yielded just 3 yards and they had to punt. The Cardinals, on their next drive, stormed up the field and took a 7-0 lead thanks to a touchdown pass from Palmer to RB David Johnson. Johnson finished with 19 carries on 55 yards, and Palmer went 30/49 with 376 yards, a touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Neither of them had particularly damaging games, as the 49ers’ defense showed some improvement.
CB Jimmy Ward, on the next Cardinals drive, committed pass interference, which led to another Cardinals score by Johnson early in the second quarter.
Kaepernick finally found his rhythm, hitting WR Jeremy Kerly for the touchdown pass in response. With 12 minutes left in the second, Arizona held a 14-7 lead.
After exchanging a few field goals, the Cardinals led 20-10 at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, the 49ers’ defense came up with another big stop, forcing yet another fumble, this time courtesy of DE DeForest Buckner. This led to another field goal, putting the Niners within a score, 20-13.
I thought the 49ers would be getting destroyed #pleasantsurprise
— Tej Kamaraju (@TejKSports) November 13, 2016
A few drives later, Palmer through an interception to S Eric Reid, but Kaepernick failed to capitalize and the 49ers were forced to punt the ball yet again. The defense, however, was playing much better than in recent weeks.
But in a season that’s been awful for the 49ers, when the defense showed up, the offense, for the most part, did not, as Kaepernick continually failed to get his team in at least field goal range.
After a huge first down late in the game for WR Larry Fitzgerald, who finished with 12 catches for 133 yards, LB Gerald Hodges picked off Palmer for the second time and put the 49ers in position to tie the game with a late drive.
On this drive, Kaepernick had some success running the ball and throwing the ball. He ran it 4 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 20 with 2 minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, a promising game turned into yet another loss when Palmer marched down the field, leading to a Cardinal field goal, and the 49ers lost 23-20.
This game was a great one for the 49ers all around. The defense showed a lot of promised, stopped the run game and coming up with a few interceptions. On offense, we might be seeing the resurgence of Colin Kaepernick. Could the 49ers be holding onto him?