49ers destroy themselves in flop of a loss vs. Cardinals

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

42. Final. 31. 32. 17

The 49ers might have some complains against the officials, but their loss in Week 9 to the Cardinals had more to do with their own disastrous mistakes.

The San Francisco 49ers fully deserve to be 3-5.

This, after a series of self-inflicted wounds ultimately resulted in the Niners falling to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9 by a score of 31-17 when the Cardinals were without their starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, and their No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, who were both out with injuries.

Instead, it was Arizona’s backup quarterback, Colt McCoy, who managed to do enough to exploit the many weaknesses San Francisco’s defense has.

Particularly cornerback Josh Norman.

Already having surrendered two touchdowns to the Cardinals, Norman and the 49ers defense looked as if they had stopped McCoy and Co. on a fourth-down play until a scuffle ensued between Norman and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, which resulted in both getting flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Except Norman’s penalty was enforced first, giving Arizona a first down that resulted in a field goal. Brutal on Norman. Absolutely brutal and inexcusable. And Norman never saw the field again afterwards.

Yet it was only one of many mistakes the Niners made in what should arguably be considered the worst loss of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s career.

49ers continue being on the wrong side of the turnover differential

An ominous sign of how the game was going to pan out was tight end George Kittle, returning for the first time since being placed on injured reserve with a calf injury, fumbling on a key reception after trying to leapfrog a Cardinals defender, only to have cornerback Byron Murphy punch the ball out for Arizona to recover:

That led to seven Cardinals points.

Magnifying the problems San Francisco had was yet another crucial fumble, this time by wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk way down in the red zone, which culminated in the first-half field goal in the wake of Norman’s mistake:

Aiyuk, who has been under plenty of scrutiny this season already, certainly won’t improve his stock value after this crucial turnover, although he did make up for it later with a touchdown and some additional catches to move the chains.

In total, the 49ers turned the ball over three times while generating zero defensive takeaways of their own. If you’re looking for yet another reason why the Niners have struggled this season, that’s a case example right there.

Even if you want to cite what looked like a phantom facemask call on defensive tackle Arik Armstead when he took down McCoy on what appeared to be a stop on third down, yet the call ultimately led to the Cardinals’ second touchdown of the afternoon.

Although, as the second half played out, Arizona didn’t need to catch breaks as it continued to steamroll San Francisco’s inept defense.

Jimmy Garoppolo plays well in 49ers loss vs. Cardinals… mostly

San Francisco’s own self-inflicted wounds ultimately define what happened in Week 9, and those will unfortunately cover up the fact quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo performed relatively well during the game.

Well, aside from the five sacks he took and late-game pick he tossed.

In total, Jimmy G went 28-of-40 for 326 yards, two touchdowns against one interception with a 100.6 passer rating, backing up a strong outing he had the previous week on the road against the Chicago Bears.

Read More: 3 crucial X-factors 49ers must face vs. Cardinals in Week 9

Thanks to the turnovers elsewhere, though, Garoppolo and the 49ers offense only managed to be on the field for 36:47, a stark contrast to McCoy and the Cardinals taking up 23:13 of possession time.

Garoppolo might have played well enough to win. Yet in light of just how ugly the Niners lost in Week 9, it might be the painful realization 2022 must be more of the focus for Shanahan and Co., potentially meaning more rookie play over the second half of the season with the playoffs unsurprisingly an unrealistic hope.

And that would mean rookie quarterback Trey Lance.

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