The Cards hang a 21-19 loss on the 49ers Sunday, as satisfying of a victory as they have had all season – that’s 10 games decided by seven points or less, still tied with the Denver Tebows for most in the league, and the Cards have won six of them – but you could tell that hint of frustration from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald afterward.
OK, maybe it was more than a hint.
“It kind of pisses you off a little bit because you know the team we were capable of being,” Fitzgerald said, noting the Cards’ rally from that six-game losing streak that put them in a hole it’s going to be hard from which to emerge. “The way we’re playing now and the way we were playing earlier during the six-game skid just really makes you upset.
“If we had won just two or three of those games, we would possibly be fighting for the division.”
That’s true, but I am guessing the Rams – twice – and Eagles and Cowboys and Niners are all lamenting the same thing when it comes to the Cards. Bottom line: The Cards could have packed it in after falling to 1-6. They didn’t. “How many times during those first weeks did we say that we were going to stay the course?” coach Ken Whisenhunt noted (and I know that frustrated some fans to no end). So here we are.
“That’s one thing I’ll say about these Cardinals: There is no quit,” tackle Jeremy Bridges said.
– I’m sticking to my theme of waiting until Cards get to .500 before talking postseason possibility.
– But considering the Giants/Lions/Falcons all could have lost today and won, ouch. Thank goodness for the Tebows taking out the Bears. Somehow.
– Was it me or did it look like linebackers Sam Acho and Clark Haggans chased 49ers quarterback Alex Smith for five minutes on that final fourth-and-1 play? “Last week coach took me out for a little bit, and it was like, ‘We need you to rush the passer and you’re getting tired,’ ” Acho said. “All that was going through my head was, ‘You can’t be tired – it’s the last play.’ Clark and I were just running in circles trying to make something happen.”
– The defense can’t get enough praise for Sunday. I mean, the 49ers had the ball for more than 22 minutes in the first half – and had just four field goals and a 12-7 lead. “Could’ve gotten ugly, right?” cornerback Patrick Peterson said with a grin. Uh, yes.
– Five more sacks, by five different players. For a second straight week. The list this week: Peterson (his first NFL sack), Daryl Washington, Nick Eason, Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell.
– Campbell was huge again Sunday. He is playing so, so well.
– No, Adrian Wilson didn’t hang on to the two passes that looked like they should have been intercepted. But he played another excellent game Sunday and has found a groove in this defense. To paraphrase SI writer Jim Trotter, reports of Wilson’s demise were greatly exaggerated.
– How important is field position for the 49ers’ offense? San Fran started 10 drives on its side of the 50. They scored three points. Their other four scoring “drives” started on the Arizona 43, 4, 16 and 37.
– Didn’t we just say the Cards couldn’t afford to mess up the turnover battle? Cards had three turnovers. Niners didn’t turn it over. How do you explain it? (Well, it starts with a D.) San Fran scored just three points off those three turnovers.
– The Cards didn’t have three touchdown passes in a game all of 2010. They did it once previous this season, when John Skelton had three in Philly. But in that game, two went to Fitz, one to Early Doucet. Sunday was the first time the Cards had three different receivers catch TD passes since Fitz (2), Steve Breaston, Ben Patrick and Anthony Becht did it in Chicago Nov. 8, 2009.
– John Skelton was not good his last two starts. He ended up playing pretty well Sunday. We’ve said this before, but his resiliency is so impressive. It might be, even beyond his big arm, his best attribute. It won’t always translate into success, but he couldn’t have any success without it.
– Loved watching Bridges block a pair of Niner DBs — Chris Culliver and Dashon Goldson — by himself on Early Doucet’s big screen pass the play before Andre Roberts’ TD catch. Rex Hadnot had a great peelback block on linebacker Aldon Smith on the play too.
– Kevin Kolb took a knee to the back of the head by linebacker Ahmad Brooks as he was being sacked by Justin Smith. We’ll see what that means for Kolb this week.
– Punter Dave Zastudil is playing with a torn biceps in his arm. If things go like normal, that doesn’t have to cost him time, but it’s tough. Yet Zastudil averaged 46.6 yards a kick Sunday.
– Odd that Frank Gore, who had the 37-yard TD run, got only 10 rushes (for 72 yards). Niners coach Jim Harbaugh only said “No, not a reason” when asked if there was a reason Gore played less than normal. Cards won’t argue.
– The 49ers win the NFC West this season. But, given that, the Cards will take what they got Sunday. “I’ll tell you this,” Campbell said. “When the game was over and we came out on top, it felt like a Super Bowl win.”
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Wilson, Dave Zastudil, defense, Jeremy Bridges, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Sam Acho
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