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San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals: A Prospector's Guide

49ers_logo_medium vs. Th_cardinals_icon_medium

While this game lost a lot of its luster with the Sunday's 49ers loss and Cardinals win, it still should provide an entertaining football experience.  As folks were trying to develop a legit 49ers-Seahawks rivalry, the 49ers quietly developed a rivalry with the Arizona Cardinals.  Even though there have been numerous sweeps of the series, the games usually are highly competitive, if not going down close to the wire.  Even if the 49ers are all but eliminated from playoff contention, this game provides a chance for the team to take a step forward in execution and build towards 2010.

The 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals in what will be the 37th meeting between the two teams, with San Francisco holding a 20-16 advantage in the series. In the season opener earlier this year, the 49ers defeated the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, 20-16.

San Francisco enters the upcoming game following a 20-17 defeat in Seattle. In that game, QB Alex Smith connected on 27 of 45 passes for a career-high 310 yards, which included a 33-yard touchdown pass to TE Vernon Davis for his 10th receiving touchdown on the year (tied for 1st in NFL and a new single-season record among 49ers TE’s all-time) and a 22-yard touchdown reception by WR Josh Morgan to mark his third score of the season. It marked the second week in a row that the 49ers defense had posted at least 5 sacks in a game, having had 6 sacks against the Jaguars before notching 5 sacks against the Seahawks.

The 49ers have won 7 of their past 9 home games and have a 38-24 overall record on Monday Night Football.

49ers-Cardinals Connections
Coaching Connections

• 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was a teammate of Cardinals assistant head coach/OL coach Russ Grimm with the Washington Redskins from 1988-91. Manusky played linebacker, while Grimm played offensive guard.
• 49ers TE coach Pete Hoener has had coaching stints with the Cardinals in both St. Louis (1985-86) and Arizona (2001-03).
• 49ers WR coach Jerry Sullivan spent 3 seasons as the Cardinals offensive coordinator from 2001-03.
• 49ers special teams coordinator Al Everest coached in the same capacity for the Cardinals from 1996-99.
• Cardinals LB coach Billy Davis was the 49ers defensive coordinator from 2005-06.

FORMER CARDINALS - 49ers K Joe Nedney spent three seasons with the Cardinals from 1997-99 ... 49ers G Tony Wragge was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cardinals in 2002. Wragge spent 2 seasons (2002-03) with Arizona.

PANTHER PRIDE - 49ers CB Shawntae Spencer and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald were teammates at the Univ. of Pittsburgh from 2000-03.

FORMER 49ERS - Cardinals DE Chike Okeafor spent the first 4 years of his career with the 49ers after being drafted in the 3rd round (89th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.

HAIL THE VICTORS - 49ers G David Baas played at Michigan alongside  Cardinals DT Gabe Watson, DT Alan Branch and WR Steve Breaston.

CARDINALS NOR-CAL CONNECTIONS - Cardinals RB J.J. Arrington played 2 seasons at Cal.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 36
Series Record: 49ers lead series 20-16
49ers Home Record vs. Cardinals: 49ers Lead Series 11-8
First Meeting: 11/15/51, Cardinals win, 27-21, at San Francisco
Last Meeting: 9/13/09, 49ers win, 20-16, at Arizona
Current Streak: Won 1
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 5 (9/14/80-10/18/87 | 10/24/93-12/21/02)
Longest Cards Win Streak: 4 (10/6/74-12/2/79 | 10/2/05-12/24/06)
Most 49ers Points: 50 (12/7/03): 50-14, at San Francisco
Most Cardinals Points: 34 (Two Times): Last (10/6/74), 34-9 at SF
49ers Shutouts: None
Cardinals Shutouts: None

At Glendale, AZ, September 13, 2009

Head coach Mike Singletary delivered a very simple message to his team in advance of their season opening matchup against the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals … "Believe." His players did just that as they battled through a tremendously physical game highlighted by impressive defensive efforts from both squads.  After being stymied on offense for more than 3 quarters, the 49ers embarked on a 15-play, 80-yd. drive that consumed 7:26 of clock time en route to a 3-yd., go-ahead TD pass from QB Shaun Hill to RB Frank Gore. On the drive, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye scrapped the run game that he had dialed up all afternoon and left the contest to Hill’s right arm. The QB responded going 9 of 13 for 72 yds. and the TD to Gore. On the series, Hill utilized his playmakers, including TE Vernon Davis who hauled in 4 passes for 35 yds.

The 49ers opened the scoring in the 1st quarter after All-Pro LB Patrick Willis intercepted a QB Kurt Warner pass to set his team up at the ARZ 36. Six plays later K Joe Nedney connected on a 37-yd. FG. Nedney later connected on a 50-yd. FG to give the Niners a 6-0 lead entering the 2nd stanza. The Cardinals finally got some offense going in the 2nd quarter as K Neil Rackers drilled a 44-yd. FG on their first possession. As the 49ers run game continued to struggle, Hill aired the ball out to All-Pro WR Isaac Bruce on a 50-yd. bomb, setting the offense up at the 6-yd. line. With a tired Arizona defense, the 49ers called on Gore the very next play. He hit pay dirt plunging through a massive hole into the endzone.

With the momentum in their favor, CB Nate Clements capitalized on another Warner mistake, as he hauled in his first interception of the year. Clements’ effort, and those of his defensive backfield mates, limited one of the game’s best WR tandems in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, to a combined 8 recepts. for 90 yds. and 1 TD. The 49ers were unable to capitalize on Clements’ pick, as Hill was sacked and forced to fumble on the next series. The Cardinals jumped on the opportunity, posting another Rackers’ FG this time from 29 yds. San Francisco left the field at the half with a 13-6 lead.

The Cardinals carried momentum into the 3rd quarter, and on their 2nd possession, Warner led his team on 69-yd scoring drive that resulted in a 5-yd. TD pass to Fitzgerald, knotting the score at 13. After a 49ers 3-n-out, Arizona again moved the ball to post points, a 43-yd. FG by Rackers just seconds into the 4th quarter, for the Cardinals final points of the game. The Niners would then embark on their game-winning drive and back it up with a defensive performance that paralyzed the Cardinals.

2009 Statistics

49ERS (rank) CARDINALS (rank)
5-7 (t-2nd NFCW) Record 8-4 (1st NFCW)
20.4 (19th) Points per game 24.8 (9th)
285.4 (28th) Total Offense 360.9 (10th)
91.3 (28th) Rushing Offense 94.1 (26th)
194.2 (22nd) Passing Offense 266.8 (5th)
28:55 (20th) Possession Avg 30:41 (12th)
19.4 (t-10th) Points allowed/gm 19.5 (12th)
346.4 (20th) Total Defense 362.6 (24th)
95.8 (5th) Rushing Defense 104.8 (12th)
250.6 (27th) Passing Defense 257.8 (30th)
30 (t-7th) Sacks 35 (3rd)
48.3 (2nd) Punting Avg (Gross) 47.4 (3rd)
+1 (t-11th) Turnover Differential -3 (t-21st)