49ers game grades from deflating Week 9 loss to Cardinals

James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Colt McCoy, Arik Armstead, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy (12) tries to elude pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Defensive Line

On paper, Week 9 presented the opportunity for San Francisco’s vaunted pass rush to get home against an immobile Colt McCoy, who still managed to rush for 23 yards despite being 35 years old.

Yet the 49ers weren’t able to deliver the kind of thump up front expected, which became more of a problem as Arizona’s interior offensive line began experiencing more injury attrition during the game, notably after losing left guard Justin Pugh.

Things may have been bad enough after the Niners were forced to place EDGE Dee Ford on injured reserve with a back injury, creating worry after he missed all but one game with a same ailment suffered a year ago.

That said, San Francisco got one sack from depth pass-rusher Arden Key and another from defensive tackle Arik Armstead.

Like Josh Norman’s situation, though, the defensive line’s play will be highlighted by what appeared to be a phantom facemask penalty against Armstead on what should have been a third-down sack of McCoy. Instead of a fourth down, the Cardinals were able to score a touchdown instead.

That stunk, and the officials can bear some blame there. But it’s not the reason the 49ers went entirely flat in Week 9. Not even close.

Grade: D