Well, it took 11 weeks, but the 49ers put together their best game in quite a while (maybe ever in the Shanny era) as the 49ers got their revenge in a big way on the Cardinals. The local favorites in Mexico City laid a smack-down on the overmatched and gassed AZ Cards to the tune of a 38-10 shellacking. This is the 2nd dispelling of recent mishaps as the Niners earlier beat the (Wilsonless) Seahawks, and took care of the Kliff Kingsbury Kards, who had our number the last couple years.
Yeah, Wilson and Denver beat us, but let’s just treat that as an anomaly at this point. The 49ers played an interesting game with their running backs. In the 1st half, the Niners came out throwing, with CMNC being the major beneficiary of check-downs and swing passes as the Niners scored on three straight possessions to close out the 1st half.
In the 2nd half, Mitchell got his reps as the team switched gears to a running attack. Mitchell had 9 rushes for 60 yards, 6 on the first drive of the 2nd half, and the 49ers took the 2nd half kickoff in for a 24-10 lead. It was a bit of a departure for Shanny as HE was the one dictating the action. I tell you, just having CMC as a check-down is paying off hugely. Shit, even Kittle had a check-down catch.
And I really have to give the O line coaches kudos for getting a semblance of consistency out of the group. In the last 2 games, the line has given up 1 sack, and Jimmy had time to make adjustments and he was able to get through his progressions without getting hit. The 2 biggest plays for Jimmy (to me anyway) was the pass over the middle to Kittle as Jimmy Stepped up in the pocket, and threw Kittle open for the score, and the dart to Aiyuk in the red zone as the play was initially set to go to CMC. Jimmy stepped up, avoided the rush, and hit the target.
The run game was opening up giant holes, and gee, the return of the jet sweep was welcome, as Deebo, who caught 7 passes for 57 yards, had a brilliantly blocked 39 yard score. Best part of the play is center Spencer Burford going 30 yards downfield top flatten Budda Baker at the 3 to finish off the run.
The defense again pitched a 2nd half shutout for the 3rd week in a row. The stifling defense has 3 sacks, 2 picks, and ELEVEN tackles for losses. Dre Greenlaw was his bad ass self, flying all over the field with his LB-leading 9 tackles. Mooney Ward had 10 tackles and was a disruptive force from the opening bell.
Special teams were also solid with Wishnowski pinning AZ inside the 20 twice, and missed a third one by the length of half a foot as McCloud’s foot slid into the end zone for a touchback. Robbie boomed all his kicks into the thin air for TBs, and made his only FG attempt from 39 yards.
All in all, one of the best games this team has played in a while. From the coaching to all phases, a great effort. I will say though that AZ looked completely demoralized as the 3rd quarter progressed. They didn’t want to tackle anyone, and were simply mailing it in. The Cards are on HBO’s Hard Knocks in-season show. Can’t wait to see that one. They were coming off a pretty big win over the Rams, so this was a nice kick in the face to these guys.