The San Francisco 49ers found themselves in a serious dogfight in Week 6, but a mix of great defense, strong running and big special teams got the 49ers a 32-20 victory.
The 49ers entered the game as 11-point favorites, but the Cardinals gave them all they could handle the first three quarters. Colin Kaepernick was able to connect repeatedly with Vernon Davis, but the rest of the offense struggled, and the 49ers could not pull away from Arizona. Heading into the fourth quarter, the 49ers found themselves leading only 22-20. Fortunately, the team discovered its physical identity. Over the final two plays of the third quarter, and the first 16! plays of the fourth quarter, the 49ers moved 89 yards and moved the lead out to 9. The Cardinals turned the ball over on the ensuing drive, and that did it.
The defense gave up a couple big pass plays to Larry Fitzgerald and Brittan Golden, but the story of the game was the loss of nose tackle Glenn Dorsey. He injured his hamstring midway through the first quarter, leaving the 49ers with Tony Jerod-Eddie as their only true nose tackle. TJE later suffered a leg injury and missed a few snaps, getting replaced by Demarcus Dobbs. If Dorsey's injury costs him any time, Quinton Dial could find himself active a lot sooner than expected.
The loss of Dorsey eventually resulted in the Cardinals going to their ground game. The Cardinals found success, with Andre Ellington in particular looking sharp. Ellington rushed seven times for 56 yards, adding 24 yards on four receptions. The 49ers defense cleaned things up, but as they moved forward, it will be interesting to see what happens with Glenn Dorsey.
On the offensive side of the ball, the star of the first half was Vernon Davis, who hauled in seven catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. During that stretch, Colin Kaepernick did not complete a single pass to one of his wide receivers. He finally started to find Anquan Boldin at the end of the half, but that first half was all about Vernon Davis.
The offensive star of the second half really was Frank Gore and his offensive line. The 49ers absolutely bull-dozed Arizona in the fourth quarter, asserting their will on an amazing 18 play drive. It was the most plays on a drive by any team in the NFL this season, and it was the perfect example of what the 49ers do best.
And it wouldn't be a good game without a mention of the 49ers special teams. C.J. Spillman continues to dominate, and has been arguably the best specialist on the team. His work on coverage is consistently impressive, as he is usually the first guy down tripping up a punt returner. It's really quite impressive.