This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers (5-4) week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (4-6) from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. I will provide updates and analysis from the tool shed throughout the game.
4:10 Inactive for the 49ers: Ty Davis-Price, Nick Zakelj, Kemoko Turay, Arik Armstead, Samson Ebukam, Curtis Robinson.
Inactive for the Cardinals: Kyler Murray, Zach Ertz, D.J. Humphries, Max Garcia, Jessie Luketa, Victor Dimukeje, Byron Murphy
4:50 Not having Zach Ertz is a blow to the Cardinals offense. The 49ers have done a good job of stopping opponents who have only one weapon to worry about.
DeAndre Hopkins is to the Arizona Cardinals what Cooper Kupp is to the Los Angeles Rams.
Hopkins is going to make plays tonight. The key for San Francisco is to keep Hopkins from getting behind them. If they can do that, the defense will keep Arizona to under 20 points.
4:55 While it’s not the most exciting topic to discuss, turnovers will play a major role in the outcome of this game.
San Francisco is 16-3 since the start of 2021 when they win or tie the turnover battle. They drop to 1-9 when they give away more turnovers than their opponents.
Arizona comes into tonight having lost the turnover battle only once this season. Through their first ten games the Cardinals are +5.
If Jimmy Garoppolo holds true to form, the veteran quarterback will throw at least one interception tonight. Can the 49ers get a takeaway or two to make up for it? Something to keep an eye on as tonight’s game unfolds.
5:05 Look for Kyle Shanahan to try to get George Kittle involved early. For the second time this season there have been questions about the lack of targets for the tight end this week. The first two targets against Kansas City went to Kittle following the first week Kittle’s usage was questioned.
5:18 The 49ers defense takes the field first and forces a quick three and out. Deommodore Lenoir dropped Rondale Moore for a loss of six on a first down run, then the pass rush forced a Colt McCoy incompletion on third down.
49ers take over at their 37.
5:21 Arizona’s defense forces a quick three and out of their own. After a two-yard gain by Christian McCaffrey on first down, Garoppolo throws incomplete on second and third down.
The third down throw was a deep shot to Jauan Jennings down the left sideline. The receiver appeared to have a step on the defender, but their feet got tied up and Jennings went down.
San Francisco appeared to pin the Cardinals at the one yard line, but Tarvarius Moore slipped and touched the goalline before he was able to get the ball out of his hands.
Cardinals take over at their 20.
5:27 DeAndre Hopkins with a pair of 17-yard catches. The big receiver is finding holes in the 49ers zone defense.
The first came after he lined up in the slot. This is where having Jimmie Ward lined up as the slot cornerback hurst the 49ers. It limits the coverages they can play.
5:31 Dre Greenlaw and Charvarius Ward both come off injured after a deep incompletion from Colt McCoy.
On third down, Deommodore Lenoir is singled up with DeAndre Hopkins and his strong coverage forces an incompletion.
Arizona settles for a 40-yard Matt Prater field goal to take the lead.
49ers 0 Cardinals 3
5:39 Deebo Samuel ‘s disappointing season continues.
After a pair of Garoppolo completions to Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Shanahan dials up an end-around for Samuel on third and two. Arizona is ready for it and pushes Samuel out of bounds for a loss of two.
Arizona will take over at their four.
The thin air in Mexico City will make field position a struggle. Unless there is a turnover both teams will be backed up to start drives similar to what we saw in Denver back in week three.
5:47 Backed up, Arizona doesn’t try to get the ball to Hopkins on this possession. Instead, the Cardinals turn to the run and screen game. They pick up a first down, but San Francisco holds to force a punt.
The 49ers are doing a good job of taking away the underneath passing game so far.
5:52 There is the Deebo Samuel the 49ers saw make play after play last year.
Samuel takes a short pass over the middle from Garoppolo and turns it into a gain of 19 on the final play of the first quarter.
Garoppolo opened the possession with a four yard completion to Samuel.
The 49ers offense is in rhythm after a slow start.
5:58 Jimmy Garoppolo with a terrific play, hitting Brandon Aiyuk from seven yards out to give the 49ers the lead.
Garoppolo looked to the right side before going back to his left and finding Aiyuk on a slant.
A 20-yard burst from Christian McCaffrey on a toss to the left side got San Francisco into the redzone.
49ers 7 Cardinals 3
6:02 Kevin Givens has been very good in the base defense, getting into the backfield several times.
6:07 Jimmie Ward comes up with his first interception of the season.
McCoy tried to check down to James Connor, the running back could not hold on to the ball and Ward on the spot to come down with the takeaway.
I’ve been pretty hard on Ward this season. Good to see him make a big play.
6:10 Field position is going to be a premium tonight. The 49ers offense needs to take advantage here.
6:13 Jimmy Garoppolo with a terrific second reaction play, avoids pressure and finds George Kittle over the middle for a 39-yard touchdown.
Garoppolo has made big plays on the move each of the last two weeks.
49ers 14 Cardinals 3
6:22 Arizona responds with a nine play, 75 yard drive ending when James Connor pushes the pile into the endzone from four yards out.
Greg Dortch took a quick throw to the left side for a gain of 47 to get Arizona into the redzone.
Colt McCoy is dicing up the 49ers zone defense in the first half. He has completed 16 of 22 attempts for 165 yards.
6:30 Christian McCaffrey’s explosiveness has elevated the 49ers offense.
San Francisco moves the chains on their first three plays of this possession with McCaffrey accounting for two of them by taking short catches for gains of 12 and 14.
6:38 After getting to the Arizona 21 Jimmy Garoppolo throws incomplete on a go route to Jauan Jennings and low to Deebo Samuel for another incompletion.
Robbie Gould hits from 39-yards out.
49ers 17 Cardinals 10
6:42 Nick Bosa now has 10.5 sacks in only nine games.
The 49ers lead 17-10 at halftime, but it feels like it should be more.
6:46 Jimmy Garoppolo is 14-21, 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
First half target distribution: Samuel 7 Kittle 5 McCaffrey 5 Aiyuk 2 Jennings 2
Charvarius Ward leads the 49ers with seven tackles. Most of those have come after catches by DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has seven catches on eight targets for 77 yards.
Arizona ran 39 offensive plays to only 29 for San Francisco in the first half. Expect that number to flip in the second half with the 49ers getting the ball first.
7:07 This is like old time 49ers football. They keep coming at the opposing defense in waves.
McCaffrey makes plays all over the field. They bring in Elijah Mitchell and he goes for 10. Then they give it to Deebo Samuel on an end around and he takes it 39 yards for a touchdown.
Seven runs for 71 yards on that touchdown drive.
49ers 24 Cardinals 10
7:17 The 49ers defense forces an incompletion on a third down pass to Hopkins, only the second incompletion towards him tonight. McCoy throws inaccurately to Greg Dortch on fourth and three.
San Francisco will take over at their 41. Another score and this one is over.
7:25 Rookie right guard Spencer Burford is called for holding on first down, wiping away a short completion to Deebo Samuel. Garoppolo can’t dig the offense out of the hole and it’s a quick punt for the 49ers offense.
49ers lead 24-10.
7:28 Kevin Givens has been stuffing the run tonight and comes through with a sack on McCoy for a loss of nine on second down. He is having one heck of a game.
7:38 If you are old enough to have watched the 49ers Super Bowl winning team’s tonight’s game looks familiar.
San Francisco is running and throwing their way through the Arizona defense.
Elijah Mitchell gashes the Cardinals for 27 yards on the first three plays. Then Jimmy Garoppolo throws complete to Christian McCaffrey for 12 yards before connecting with Brandon Aiyuk from 13 yards out for another 49ers touchdown.
49ers 31 Cardinals 10
7:45 Fred Warner gets a sack of Colt McCoy, but it was set up by a Talanoa Hufanga blitz.
7:46 Arizona goes for it on fourth and four. Dre Greenlaw gets his hand on the McCoy pass to force the incompletion.
The 49ers offense has been the focus tonight, but the defense is playing lights out as well. Arizona has 48 yards of offense in the second half.
7:55 Teams are not supposed to be this explosive out of 22 personnel. Garoppolo hits George Kittle on play action in the left flat and the tight end runs through the Cardinals defense for a 32-yard touchdown reception.
That is Garoppolo’s fourth touchdown pass of the night.