49ers look to fix mistakes, rebound vs. Cardinals

Field Level Media

November 14, 2019 at 6:42 am.

The San Francisco 49ers will face a new challenge against a very recent challenger Sunday.

After suffering their first loss of the season to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, the 49ers have a short week to prepare for this Sunday’s visit by the Arizona Cardinals, who were within a field goal of hanging that first loss on San Francisco on Halloween.

San Francisco has a lot to polish up after committing three turnovers, dropping a handful of passes, giving up five sacks and missing a potential game-winning field goal in overtime of the heartbreaking 27-24 loss to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

The 49ers (8-1) could look at it as a minor blip, however. They will bring the best record, the stingiest defense and the greatest point differential in the NFC into the home game against the Cardinals (3-6-1), who are on their second three-game losing streak of the season.

“It was a little like a gut check,” 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner said.

Buckner scored one of the 49ers’ two touchdowns against Seattle on a rare off night by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 24-of-46 passes for 248 yards, although his stat line was greatly compromised by receiver drops in key situations.

“We just didn’t have the consistency,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Garoppolo will look to bounce back against the Cardinals after posting his best game of the season in a 28-25 victory in Arizona on Oct. 31, when he completed 28 of 37 passes for a season-high 317 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes.

The 49ers had 411 total yards and a nine-minute advantage in time of possession that night, and after squandering 11 points of a 28-14 lead, ran out the final 4:59 by converting three third-down runs. The Cardinals had won the previous eight in the series.

The Cardinals continue to struggle on defense. They have given up 412.5 yards per game (31st in the NFL), and failed to hold a 27-23 lead at Tampa Bay last week when the Buccaneers went 92 yards on six plays and two pass interference penalties for a 30-27 lead with 1:43 remaining.

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who has thrown for 2,553 yards and 12 touchdowns, threw his first interception in 212 attempts to set up the Bucs’ go-ahead drive. His streak of 211 without a pick set an NFL rookie record.

The Cardinals found a weapon in wideout Christian Kirk, who had 138 yards receiving and three touchdowns, but the offense sputtered while converting only 1-of-10 third-down opportunities.

“I don’t think we’ve hit a plateau,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I think we have to do the little things better.

“Given ourselves a chance at the end of every game, but the margin of error is so small in this league that if you are having those penalties and having the missed opportunities … you are not going to win those games.”

San Francisco wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffered a rib injury in the first quarter of the Seattle game and was called “day-to-day” by Shanahan. George Kittle (ankle, knee) did not play against Seattle and, like Matt Breida (ankle), is doubtful. Offensive tackle Joe Staley will miss at least a couple of weeks with a broken finger.

Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, who suffered a calf injury late against Tampa Bay and was not on the field for the Buccaneers’ winning drive, is questionable. Halfback Chase Edmonds (hamstring) remains out.