Game 1: 49ers at Cardinals

Game 1: 49ers at Cardinals

 

Welcome to the opening Sunday of the NFL regular season. I’ll be multi-tasking from my perch in the press box here at University of Phoenix Stadium, where the 49ers meet the Arizona Cardinals.

 

. . . The defending NFC champion, Arizona Cardinals.

 

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In today’s Press Democrat, I wrote about Mike Singletary’s game management: “Singletary returns to scene of confusion.” And here is the 49ers-Cardinals preview box for the game.

 

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As of this morning when I just checked, 2,021 people have weighed in with their opinions of how the 49ers should handle the Michael Crabtree situation. Click here to vote and view the results of the poll.

 

Crabtree remains unsigned, and today misses a game check of a little more than $18,000.

 

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The 49ers’ inactives for today’s game are Nate Davis (3rd QB), WR Brandon Jones, LB Ahmad Brooks, DB Curtis Taylor, DL Ricky Jean-Francois, OL Cody Wallace, DB Reggie Smith and WR Jason Hill (and he can’t be happy about that).

 

Also, Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin is active for the game. It remains to be seen how effective he’ll be with his hamstring problem.

 

Cardinals inactives are Brian St. Pierre (third QB), WR Steve Breaston, CB Greg Toler, LB Reggie Walker, G/T Herman Johnson, G/T Brandon Keith, WR Early Doucet and TE Dominique Byrd.

 

FIRST QUARTER

 

–Cardinals win toss and elect to receive. 49ers kick coverage unit: Rossum, Hudson, Walker, Robinson, McKillop, Ulbrich, Coffee, Harris, Spurlock, Brown.

 

–Defensive holding on Justin Smith to try to open hole for Manny Lawson on a stunt. That keeps Cardinals opening drive alive.

 

–Isaac Sopoaga gets hand on Warner pass for incompletion.

 

–Willis with nice play to limit reception to Hightower to 4 yards. Niners take over at 26-yard line after punt with 12:36 remaining in quarter.

 

–Good-sized Fitzgerald gain is wiped out because he shoved down Clements to get open. It’s second and 19.

 

–Ray McDonald looked tentative on an early pass rush, but he makes tackle on Hightower after gain of 6. It’s third and 18.

 

 

–Patrick Willis of interception on pass intended for Jerheme Urban. Niners take over at Ariz 36.

 

–Third and 6 from the 19 . . . Hill pass to Morgan broken up by Bryant McFadden in end zone. Morgan had a chance to go up and get it.

 

–Niners settle for Joe Nedney’s 37-yard field goal. It’s 49ERS 3, CARDINALS 0 with 5:34 left in quarter.

 

–Through three Cardinals possessions, their only first down came on penalty. The 49ers’ defense is looking very good.

 

–Niners called for 12-men on the field on a punt, which would give the Cardinals a first down. Singletary disagrees with the call and is challenging it. Referee Don Carey will go under the hood to count the players.

 

–Singletary wins the challenge. Niners keep the ball.

 

–Hill hits Delanie Walker for 17 yards.

 

–Adrian Wilson with a monster (illegal) hit on Vernon Davis. That’s a personal foul and another first down to the 24-yard line.

 

–Former 49er Chike Okeafor got around Adam Snyder for sack.

 

Nedney 50-yard FG after Snyder beaten for Okeafor sack on third down. It’s 49ERS 6, CARDINALS 0 with 1:22 left in quarter.

 

–INJURY UPDATE: 49ers CB Marcus Hudson chest contusion and is questionable. He’s going in for X-rays.

 

–Clements hasn’t allowed a catch to Fitzgerald, but Urban just beat him for 40 yards.

 

–First quarter ends  

 

SECOND QUARTER

 

–Third and 7, Warner throws incomplete. Not much pressure on that play, but the 49ers’ pass rush has been pretty good.

 

–Rackers for a 44-yd FG. It’s 49ERS 6, CARDINALS 3 with 14:03 left in half.

 

–I’ve never seen a kicker hustle down on kickoff like Rackers. He was in on tackle of Rossum. Niners take over at the 22.

 

–Gore is still not getting much going. He’s stopped for no gain. It’s third and 5.

 

–Morgan catches 14-yard pass to extend the drive.

 

–After offside penalty, Cards have committed seven penalties for 53 yards.

 

–On first and 5, Bruce loses 8 yards on end-around.

 

–Morgan with a nice tap-dance routine at sideline for 11 yards. It’s third and 2.

 

–Hill’s pass for Gore batted down. The 49ers punt it away. Cardinals take over at the 11.

 

–Two 49ers offensive players who have yet to see the field: Glen Coffee and Arnaz Battle.

 

–Haralson with the sack, beating RT Levi Brown. That’s a loss of 6. It’s third and 16 after timeout.

 

–Haralson nearly gets another sack of Warner in the end zone. But pass to Hightower is still stopped short.

 

–After punt and Dashon Goldson’s illegal block penalty, Niners take over at 27.

 

–Coffee and Battle are on the field. Coffee stopped for 3-yard loss on first down. On second down, he did a nice job of picking up blitz.

 

Battle catches a pass near the yard-marker on third down. It was third-and-13 and he gained 12. Battle usually runs the correct depth on those plays.

 

–Cardinals face a third-and-2 . . . 49ers defense holds again. That defense is performing well. However, the 49ers’ offense has had no luck against the Cardinals’ defense, too.

 

–Niners take over at the 32 after Rossum’s 14-yard return.

 

–Hill hits Gore for 7 and a first down.

 

–It’s third and 10 after a couple incomplete passes toward Delanie Walker . . . 50 yard pass to Isaac Bruce to the Cardinals’ 6. Hill had plenty of time to throw and delivered it on the money. It was the longest pass completion of Hill’s career.

 

–Gore with a tough run up the middle. Nice block by David Baas. It’s 49ERS 13, CARDINALS 3 with 2:23 left in the half.

 

–Pressure from Haralson and Lawson, Warner throws it up for grabs and Clements makes the pick. Niners back in business at the Cardinals’ 34.

 

–Gore with 4 yards to the Cardinals’ 30. It’s the two-minute warning.

 

–Snyder beaten again for a sack. Tony Pashos might be getting his chance sooner than later. It was a 14-yard loss.

 

–Hill hit as he was throwing on third down. Niners will have to punt.

 

–Upon further review, Carey rules that Cardinals recovered ball at the Arizona 40. Cardinals have good field position with 75 seconds left in the half.

 

–After two passes to Hightower, Ray McDonald sacks Warner for 5-yard loss. Cardinals’ ball on 49ers’ 38 with :34 remaining.

 

–Fitzgerald catches 10-yard pass on third-and-9 over Dre’ Bly. Rackers on for a 40-yard FG, but Niners called for trying to mimic Cardinals’ signals. Cards send offense back onto the field.

 

–Cements is all over Fitzgerald on incomplete pass in end zone. Rackers re-enters to kick field goal. It’s 49ERS 13, CARDS 6 at the half.

 

THIRD QUARTER

 

–Surprise! Niners open second half with a Gore run. It gains 4.

 

–Gore with another run. It gains nothing.

 

–Incomplete on third down. That’s a three-and-out.

 

–Cardinals take over at own 34.

 

–Cardinals beat third-down blitz with screen to Hightower for a first down to the Ariz 45.

 

–Sure sign that 49ers CB Shawntae Spencer is doing a heck of a job: Warner has yet to throw his way. (And Clements is doing pretty darn well himself.) Niners defense holds, they’ll take over at 20 with 10:29 left in quarter.

 

–Whoa, Jimmy Raye. That was a three-and-out with three consecutive Gore running plays.

 

–Cardinals on the move. Warner completes 18-yard pass to Fitzgerald, with Lewis in coverage. Beanie Wells with 15-yard run.

 

–Hightower blows past Haralson in coverage for 23-yard gain to the 4.

 

–Bly with nice play to trip up Wells for a loss of a yard.

 

–Warner finds Fitzgerald, working against Clements, for 5-yard TD pass. It’s 49ERS 13, CARDINALS 13 with 4:11 remaining. Jimmy Raye might want to think about using the forward pass a little on this next drive.

 

–After two passes, Snyder is beaten for another sack. This time, Bertrand Berry does the honors. After punt, Cardinals ball at their own 39.

 

–After the 49ers yield 30 yards on first three Cardinals plays, Singletary calls a timeout and calls entire defense over to talk.

 

–On third and 4 . . . Haralson called for offsides. That’s a first down.

 

–Aubrayo Franklin stops Wells for 2-yard loss. It’ll be third-and-9 on the first play of fourth quarter.

 

FOURTH QUARTER

 

–Rackers makes 43-yard FG. It’s CARDINALS 16, 49ERS 13 with 14:52 left in regulation.

 

–Heading into this drive, the 49ers have 9 yards and no first downs in three second-half possessions.

 

–Hill hit hard while throwing incomplete to Bruce on first down.

 

–It’s third and 4 after 6-yard pass to Bruce . . . Hill zips in 19-yard pass to Vernon Davis.

 

–Third and 5 from midfield . . . first down pass to Bruce.

 

Davis drops a pass between three defenders.

 

–Bruce with another third-down reception, gaining 13 to the Cardinals’ 29.

 

–Third and 5 for Cards . . . incomplete to Fitzgerald. If 49ers put together another 15-play drive they win this game. Niners take over at their own 2 with 5:31 remaining.

 

–Moran Norris for 2 yards.

 

–Gore for 1 yard.

 

–On third down, Gore stopped for 4-yard loss on draw play.

 

–Andy Lee with a great punt, but coverage wasn’t so good. It was a 64-yard punt and 27 yards on the return. Cards take over at 49ers’ 38 with 3:11 left.

 

–Two Cardinals penalties moves them back to own 47.

 

–It’s fourth and 5 at the two-minute warning. Cardinals with ball at 49ers’ 33.

 

–Justin Smith with tremendous pressure to force Warner incomplete pass on fourth-and-5 from 49ers’ 33. Niners take over.

 

–Gore with gains of 4 and 3 yards.

 

–It’s third and 3 . . . Gore is stopped again. The Cardinals will have one final shot.

 

–Andy Lee with 54-yard punt. Cardinals take over at 12 with :43 remaining.

 

–Hightower doesn’t get out of bounds. Clock is running. After spike, there’s :23 left.

 

–Twenty-five yard gain for Fitzgerald. They have ball at own 46 with :08 left.

 

–Justin Smith with game-ending sack. Niners hold on.

 

49ERS 20, CARDINALS 16

 

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