My son and I get 1.5 seconds of air time.
What’s the word? Thunderbird. What’s the price? Thirty twice . . .
Anyhow, took my son to the game yesterday, and it couldn’t have been a nicer day. Until the Niners started leaving opportunities all over Bill Walsh field. Their first three trips to the red zone, two courtesy of Carson Palmer, netted a grand total of 6 points. A lead that evaporated in an overzealous play by Tremaine Brock (I think) going for Palmer’s 3rd pick of the day instead going for a 65 yard touchdown. The 1st quarter seemed to last forever. But once the Niners switched sides, they seemed to get going. To the 2, when Kappy threw a pick that I didn’t learn til I got home came on a tipped ball. Miller was open, and Kappy would have hit him had it not been blocked. That was the story for much of the day. Palmer missing guys wide open, and Kappy struggling at times with his accuracy as well.
The defense had 4 turnovers, but again, the Niner offense had a terrible stretch when after the bomb to VD putting the Niners up 22-14, had the ball at midfield and the 2nd quarter winding down. Instead of putting the game away, and taking advantage to start the 3rd quarter, Kappy fumbled the ball away on 2nd and 1, and AZ forced a 3 and out to start the 2nd half. AZ marched down the field and scored with relative ease, but inexplicably went for 2 early in the 3rd quarter. Way too early in my mind to be leaving points on the field. They didn’t convert, and the Niners had another shitty possession highlighted by a 32 yard run by Gore. After another fumble by Kappy, an incomplete pass, and a false start by VD, the Niners daringly tried a power dive with Gore on 3rd and 16 for a -4 yard run by. Again, way too early in my mind for Harbaugh to go ultra conservative.
With the momentum fully on the Cardinals sideline, and the Niners clinging to a 22-20 lead, the Cards were driving and were in FG range when Patrick Willis made the play of the game by knocking the ball out of Larry Fitzgerald’s hands for a fumble that was recovered by another defensive standout, Eric Reid. Again, when the Niners switched direction to start the 4th quarter, the offense took flight. Well, took to the ground. The Niners grinded out (or pounded the meat, in Jim Harbaugh’s words) an 18 play 89 yard drive than ate up nearly 9 minutes of time. That pretty much cooked the birds and the rest was merely running out the string for a decent if unspectacular win for the home team.
The Niner offense continues to worry me as it hibernates for long stretches. With great field position, they did nothing. Their first 1st down came with 1:10 left in the 1st quarter. On an offsides penalty no less. Arizona is a fast team, and they kept Kappy on the run a lot of the time. No one was getting open most of the day, except for VD. AZ rolled their safety to Boldin’s side a lot, and Kappy did look the safety off real nice on the 2nd TD to VD, but the passing game had a lot of misfires. McDonald, Dixon, Miller, Baldwin, and Williams all caught a pass. I guess that’s improvement. Boldin caught 3, but VD was the guy who got open repeatedly to the tune of 8 catches, 180 yards, and 2 TDs. 7 and 171 came in the 1st half though, as Kappy spread the ball around some as they doubled VD to open up the 2nd half.
The run game was a grind, as Gore was often hit at the line or behind it. The Niners did wear down the AZ D line by the 4th quarter when they salted the game away. I know we have weapons ready to help out, and our D line took a couple more hits when Dorsey went down with a hamstring injury, and Jerrod-Eddie went out late in the 3rd. I think his injury was merely a cramp, but I’ll have to check. Overall? A good game against an opponent that looked better than they should have. They pass rush was non-existent except for the safety by Lemonyay. Palmer looked like shit, but still managed to get AZ back into the game in the 3rd quarter, and were driving to take the lead when Willis caused the fumble to turn the tide. Their run game did some damage of its own in the 3rd quarter as AZ fought to get back into it. But a win is a win is a win. Seattle struggled themselves with the Tennessee Tuxedos, so we’ll see how we hold up in their house.