The 49ers took care of business at home against the Cardinals, winning 35-16. That said, it still feels like this team has yet to hit its stride. Niner Noise discusses.
The San Francisco 49ers were favored to win against the visiting Arizona Cardinals by two touchdowns in Week 4 despite facing a divisional opponent that historically had great success against head coach Kyle Shanahan. The only thing more surprising than the lopsided predictions about this game was that a 14-point margin seemed reasonable between the Niners and their NFC West foes.
The Cardinals were coming off a tough but surprising Week 3 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, bending to the absolute max but not breaking, while the 49ers cruised against the New York Giants despite how weird the game felt on Thursday Night Football.
While the Cardinals are just entering their rebuild under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, the Niners are on a short list of best teams in the NFL and are one of the only two remaining unbeaten squads.
And though the final score of 35-16 depicts a comfortable victory against Arizona, the game took a weird turn throughout. The 49ers started out absolutely dominant, racing to a 21-3 advantage. But the Cardinals, playing the role of pesky underdogs, went for it on fourth down multiple times, including a fake punt inside their own 25-yard line to get a late touchdown. The 49ers offense stumbled out of the half (the only non-scoring drive the 49ers had excluding kneel-downs at the end of the game), and the Cardinals scored another touchdown to bring the game to 21-16, a one-possession game in the middle of the third quarter.
But from there, the Niners showed why they might be the best offense in the NFL.
Getting the ball with just under 10 minutes to go in the game, the 49ers marched down the field on a 14-play 7-minute long drive ending with a QB sneak for a touchdown and a bow on a game that was never really in doubt.
For the last three weeks, and even including the season-opening victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Niners have had one-possession leads that have seemed very vulnerable. Yet at the same time, there has never been a real panic that they will lose a game.
It is a fine line to walk, but the 49ers have tip-toed it so far for a 4-0 start to the season.
Here are the grades from win No. 4.