The San Francisco 49ers somehow did it again. They did not blow a 17-0 lead, but a strong 14-6 first half lead was wasted by a hideous second half. The 49ers lost by a final score of 23-14, and blame can be placed pretty much everywhere.
The 49ers got hosed on some horrific penalties, but as the second half wore on, the 49ers also showed an unbelievable lack of discipline. Anquan Boldin gave a minor, but still noticeable head-butt to a Cardinals defender. the 49ers had a first and goal down at the 5, but instead got pushed back and couldn't score. Chris Culliver got his own unsportsmanlike penalty to offset a Cardinals holding penalty. Yes, this game was frustrating, but when you compound it with your own stupid mistakes, you are not going to get much sympathy.
I honestly don't know what to make of this 49ers team. They opened the game with some unexpected no-huddle offense. They went with 4 and 5 wide receivers repeatedly, and completely caught the Cardinals off guard. They marched down for touchdowns on their first two drives, and once again looked ready to blow this thing open. And just like last week against the Chicago Bears, the 49ers offense went into a shell. The coaches went to more designed runs, seemingly removing Kap's passing opportunities. On players where the 49ers actually had a pass play called up, the offensive line was run over, and/or Kap struggled to actually find his opening receivers.
The problems fall on both players and coaches. The team is not executing in the second half, but the coaches seem to be incapable of making in-game adjustments. The 49ers brought out everything but the kitchen sink in the first half, and then it seems like they went into the half and decided they didn't have anything else to offer. The Cardinals adjusted to the 49ers, and they emerged victorious. The 49ers have yet to score a second half touchdown, and have zero points in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers have been outscored 52-3 in the second half of their first three games. This isn't a coincidence.