Fincher’s Food For Thought: Arizona Cardinals Beat 49ers


3-0. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0 after a huge win over their NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers. So many different players stepped up during this game to help ensure the victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Let’s start with the play of Drew Stanton who, for the second week in a row, filled in for starting quarterback Carson Palmer who is still dealing with a shoulder injury. Stanton was able to hang in the pocket against a good 49ers pass rush and throw for 244 yards  with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Stanton definitely stepped up and showed his toughness on Sunday.

Next, there was the play of the receivers. Michael Floyd had a great game catching five passes for 114 yards. Floyd continues to make big plays on offense for the Cardinals and is emerging as the number one receiving option for Arizona.

Both of Stanton’s touchdown passes were thrown to the rookie John Brown. Brown seems to be that receiver who gets lost on those four-receiver plays because he always seems to find a way to get open. Brown already has three touchdowns in three games this season.

Still a concern after Week 3 is Larry Fitzgerald’s lack of catches. A week after Fitzgerald led the team in catches, he was limited to only three catches for 34 yards. Fitzgerald also uncharacteristically fumbled the ball inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line as the Cardinals were poised to come away with some points. But things like that happen to even the great players sometimes.

It sounds like a broken record saying this week after week, but the Cardinals defense played extremely well again on Sunday. They held the 49ers to 14 points and did not allow a single score in the second half. They did allow 103 yards to Stevie Johnson and 80 yards and a touchdown to Michael Crabtree, but the defense was able to keep everyone else in check. The Cardinals also had one less weapon to worry about since tight end Vernon Davis did not play for San Francisco. They were able to pressure Colin Kaepernick, which caused him to scramble out of the pocket on many different occasions. As a result, Kaepernick led the 49ers in rushing with 13 carries for 54 yards. The Cardinals completely shut down Frank Gore who only carried the ball six times for 10 yards. Arguably two of the biggest plays of the game were the Cardinals’ lone sack of the game made by defensive back Tony Jefferson, which pinned San Francisco inside its own 10 and helped seal the deal for Arizona. But the biggest play of all was the blocked field goal by Tommy Kelly, which kept the 49ers from tying the game.

Going into the BYE week in Week 4, the hope is that the players who are nursing injuries, such as Carson Palmer and Antonio Cromartie, will have time to get healthy and be ready to play in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos are coming off a loss to the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals will travel to Mile High Stadium on October 5th at 2:05 p.m. to take on Peyton Manning and company.

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