Instead of Kyler Murray dicing through San Francisco’s defense, the 49ers got to watch journeyman backup quarterback Colt McCoy make quick work of defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ unit, frequently using screens and short passes to help negate the Niners’ pass rush.
There were plenty of issues to call out from San Francisco’s defensive backfield, yes, including cornerback Emmanuel Moseley’s issues with tackling, rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga being out of position on a number of plays and the overwhelming shock at McCoy tossing for 249 yards while completing nearly 85 percent of his passes.
But the biggest lowlight has to center on veteran cornerback Josh Norman, who after the 49ers made a key stop on third down with the game still in reach, was flagged for a taunting penalty in a verbal scuffle with Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Both were flagged, yes. But the officials enforced Norman’s penalty first, giving Arizona a first down, which led to a field goal after a fresh set of downs.
The Cardinals were in the red zone anyway, so the yards and new downs may not have mattered.
Still, Norman was benched in the second half in favor of fellow reserve corner Dre Kirkpatrick, who was equally as troubled trying to make tackles.
Very little was good from this unit considering the context.