One road trip left. Sure, it’ll be sub-freezing temps in Detroit this weekend (last I checked, 31 degrees Saturday and Sunday) but thanks to the roof of Ford Field, it won’t make a difference in the game. That suits the Cards, who could use an offensive outburst in perfect conditions.
You never take anything for granted, but the Cards have to like the matchup with a Detroit team coming off an abysmal showing against the Ravens and trying to play out the string of what has been another rough season. Covering many bad seasons here, everyone always talked about playing for your job after the chance at the postseason faded, but that’s always a tough situation. How many Lions want to stay with the Lions? You always have to wonder what you’re up against.
And while the Lions can’t be happy with how they played last week, you know the Cards aren’t. You know Kurt Warner wants to bounce back, that Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells want carries to wash away memories of fumbles, that Larry Fitzgerald – who I expect to play – is desperate to pile up some yards after getting so few last week.
Meanwhile, there’s a good chance snow is going to be dumped on the Philadelphia area. We’ll see how that affects the 49ers-Eagles game.
First, though, the Cards must beat the Lions.
— Steve Breaston, barring an upset, isn’t getting back to 1,000 yards receiving this season. Heck, he’s had just two catches the past two games (for 23 yards) and just six over the past four. He was targeted six times in San Francisco but got just one catch (one pass was deftly knocked away; another he was open and Warner just misfired out of bounds).
“Some of it hasn’t gone his way, some of it is the way it’s gone in the game,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Some of it is more run (calls). We’ve been in more two-tight end, two-back sets, which minimizes his time on the field. But I believe he will still make a few big plays for us yet this season.”
If you knew the Miracle Baby, you’d know he really doesn’t worry much about such things. He’s about as far from a diva receiver as you can get. “It’s difficult and you want the ball,” Breaston said. “You have to look at the situation. As long as you get open, people see that. Regardless of what happened last year, I am still the third receiver; we still have talented running backs. They all have to get their touches too. You can’t be impatient.”
A smile crossed his face. “When that ball comes, you need to make that play. The ball becomes more valuable to you, knowing it might not get back to you anytime soon.”
— The pass rush was a worry before the season. But the Cards have 36 sacks and are on pace for 45, which would easily be the best number the team has had since moving to Arizona (that number is 39, accomplished twice, in 1998 and 1988).
— Fitzgerald is nine yards short of 1,000 receiving yards. Anquan Boldin, with three games left, needs only 197, impressive considering how banged up he was the first half of the season. Maybe Q can repeat his 217-yard effort he had at Ford Field in his NFL debut.
— Gabe Watson is going home. He’s from Southfield, Michigan (where, among other things, he punted for his high school team – that’s right, Spongebob Squareback was a punter). It’s his first game back in Michigan since leaving the University of Michigan. He got 48 tickets for family and friends.
“I was a huge Barry Sanders fan and my dad used to take us to Lions’ training camps all the time,” Watson said. “That was the only NFL team I really knew about, so growing up, when I saw how big the guys were and knowing how big I was, I thought, ‘Shoot, I’d love to play here.’ Instead, I’m with the Cardinals.”
— The Cards’ defense has a chance at a big day. The Lions don’t have their best quarterback (Matt Stafford, bad shoulder) or their best running back (Kevin Smith, lost for the season with a knee injury). Their best receiver, Calvin Johnson, is nursing a bad knee. It’s impossible, after last week, to assume anything.
But the last time the Cards melted down with turnovers, it was against Carolina. The next week, they went on the road to the Midwest and pounded an NFC North team. That was Chicago. This is Detroit. Here’s hoping for more Warner TD passes. And some turnovers of the Cards’ very own.
Tags: 49ers, Anquan Boldin, Beanie Wells, Gabe Watson, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Lions, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
Posted in Blog | 7 Comments »