This is the live blog for the second quarter of the 49ers’ Week 17 game in Arizona against the Cardinals. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from my living room.
2:10 James returns the punt 21 yards to the 49ers’ 43.
2:12 The 49ers go three-and-out and Kaepernick has a bad series. He throws a ground ball to Vernon Davis on first down. Davis was 10 yards away. Then Kaepernick almost gets intercepted on second down as he rolls right and tries to hit Crabtree deep down the right sideline. Then Kaepernick bolts the pocket on third-and-10 and scrambles up the middle for 4 yards. After the punt, the Cadinals have the ball at their 9.
2:15 The Cardinals go three-and-out and Palmer has an even worse series. He misses Floyd on first down, and he overthrows a deep receiver by 15 yards on third-and-6. Why even throw that pass? Get the first down. James returns the punt 10 yards to the 49ers’ 46.
2:19 The 49ers go three-and-out on three carries by Gore. He gains 8 on first down, but just 1 on second down and he loses 5 on third down. Peterson makes a fair catch at the Cardinals’ 12.
2:25 On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Palmer fakes a handoff and throws a touchdown pass to third-string tight end Jake Ballard. 17-7 Niners. That play was set up by a 49-yard catch by Fitzgerald, who beat Carlos Rogers in the slot on a double move to the corner. 4:46 left in the first half.
2:33 Their last three possessions, the 49ers have one first down.
2:37 Frank Gore has 10 yards on six carries. Take away his 8-yard run, and he has two yards on five carries.
2:41 On third-and-6 from the 49ers’ 24, Kaepernick throws a beautiful pass to Crabtree on a corner route and he catches it for 11 yards. Next play, Kaepernick hits a wide open Anthony Dixon in the flat for 19 yards. 15 yards are added for roughing the passer. Next play, Kaepernick play fakes, rolls rigth and throws back to his left to Joe Staley for 14 yards. The 49ers face first-and-10 at the Cardinals’ 16 after the two-minute warning.
2:45 Crabtree gains 13 yards on a quick smoke route on second down. Peterson was playing way off him. Why? Makes no sense. On first and goal from the 3, Gore loses five yards. Second and goal from the 6 with 31 seconds left in the half.
2:47 Crabtree rolls right and throws the ball away on second-and-goal, and then he calls timeout to avoid a delay penalty on third and goal.
2:48 Kaepernick barely gets the play off after the timeout, throws off his back foot and his pass gets knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Then Phil Dawson hooks the 27-yard field goal attempt wide left. Poor show all around. Palmer takes a knee and it’s 17-7 at halftime.
2:51 Greg Roman and Colin Kaepernick are doing a good job taking advantage of the Cardinals’ soft coverage by calling smoke routes – quick passes to the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage. Where were those passes earlier this season. They’ve been wide open all year, even when Kyle Williams was playing.