No. 4: 49ers were sloppy with ball control, giving up free points to Cardinals
Unfortunately, with the team’s playoff hopes essentially on the line, nobody can escape being criticized.
In his first game back off injured reserve, George Kittle attempted to hurdle a Cardinals player but wound up losing the ball after cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. punched the ball loose.
Nine plays later, James Conner ran in for a 13-yard touchdown.
If you thought that was bad, two drivers after the score, Brandon Aiyuk decided to be the hero and lost the ball after linebacker Isaiah Simmons stripped him. Arizona went on to kick a field goal making it 17-0 early in the second quarter.
On the Aiyuk fumble, Jimmy Garoppolo went 4-of-5, and the offense was just getting to the Cardinals’ red zone.
It seemed like the 49ers just couldn’t get much going after these turnovers. Neither Kittle nor Aiyuk had terrible games as a whole. Both made up for their mistakes with touchdowns later in the game, but the script could’ve been written differently had they each not had a fumble.
Garoppolo did throw a pick in the final minutes of the game, but again, he did a lot of what was expected of him, including two touchdowns and over 300 yards passing.