Cardinals vs. 49ers – Match Recap – November 7, 2021
SANTA CLARA, Calif .– With most of Arizona’s biggest stars injured, the Cardinals still had more than enough firepower to overwhelm the San Francisco 49ers.
James conner ran for two touchdowns and caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colt McCoy as the shorthanded Cardinals beat the 49ers 31-17 on Sunday.
The Cardinals (8-1) played without quarterback Kyler Murray and receivers DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green. They also lost running back Chase Edmonds in the first quarter, but they still had little trouble completing the season sweep against the 49ers (3-5).
“They have stepped up their efforts,” said coach Kliff Kingsbury. “We knew they had to do it. When you lose some of your best players, it’s not easy. But that’s how this league is. The guys stepped up and played big games all day.
Conner finished with 173 scrum yards, McCoy played efficient play, and the defense delivered three takeaways and five sacks, including three from Markus Golden.
Conner scored in TD races in back-to-back first quarter practice to give the Cardinals a big lead they never gave up. Conner TD long catch-and-run Arizona’s first practice in the second half helped put the game out of reach. Conner leads the NFL with 11 touchdowns, all scored in the last seven games.
San Francisco lost two fumbles in the first half and struggled defensively even against McCoy, a career substitute who had won two starts in the past 10 seasons. McCoy scored 22 for 26 for 249 yards.
“We had some big games that really changed the game,” said McCoy. “Kliff got me in the rhythm early. James ran the ball strong. I just didn’t want to come in here and return the ball. We didn’t and you win games that way. I take advantage of it. to be in a great team and I’m really happy to be on the pitch and the guys can help me out.
The Niners are now winless in four home games this season and are just 1-8 at Levi’s Stadium over the past two seasons. San Francisco is behind Arizona by four games in NFC West and can afford a few more slips if the 49ers hope to make a wild card push.
“We didn’t play very well today,” said coach Kyle Shanahan. “I was really disappointed. I thought we played really well. We had a good week of training which we even improved from the week before, but it obviously didn’t go like that.
Jimmy Garoppolo played well, throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns, but the Niners never established the running game and were slashed in defense. Garoppolo threw in a late interception to end any chance of a comeback.
A week after committing no turnovers, no punters and no sacking in a Chicago win, the Niners wasted no time making the three against Arizona. Golden had a third sack on the ground on the first drive, leading to a punt.
George Kittle then fumbled after a catch on the first play of the second drive. San Francisco kicked again on the third drive and Brandon Aïyuk lost a fumble on the fourth drive.
The Cardinals set up their second TD with a rigged game. Receiver Christian Kirk recovered the ball on a U-turn and threw a through pass that Antoine Wesley caught for a gain of 33 yards to 1. It was Kirk’s first completion in college or with the pros. Conner ran it on the next game to make it 14-0.
Kingsbury said it was a game he once used as a college assistant in Houston and the Cardinals played it all year with Hopkins throwing at AJ Green. But he was finally called up on Sunday with a different combo.
“I told (Hopkins) he’s not playing, C-Kirk can direct him,” Kingsbury said. “He made a good shot and Antoine played a good game.”
A game with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both teams ended up benefiting the Cardinals.
Kingsbury came running onto the field to discuss an appeal after the Cardinals failed to convert to a third and long San Francisco territory. The penalty could have put Arizona out of range, except Niners cornerback Josh Norman was called up for taunts when he started yelling at Kingsbury as officials discussed the first penalty.
The officials first applied the Norman sanction, then that of Kingsbury. This gave the Cardinals a first and 25 of 26. Arizona settled for a field goal to take a 17-0 lead.
Cardinals: Edmonds (ankle) and LG Justin Pugh (calf) got injured early and did not return.
49ers: RT Mike McGlinchey (knee) left with a knee injury.
Cardinals: host of Carolina next Sunday.
49ers: Welcomes the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, November 15.