The San Francisco 49ers lost their sixth-straight Sunday after a disappointing showing against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers held a 12-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on, the Cardinals scoring two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to take a three-point lead. With :39 seconds left, the 49ers had a real opportunity to send the game into overtime but couldn’t capitalize - more on that later.
Here’s five takeaways from the 49ers’ 18-15 loss to the Cardinals:
Finding a way to lose
If the 49ers have excelled at anything so far in 2018, it’s finding a way to lose. Whether it’s turnovers, missed assignments or opportunities, Kyle Shanahan’s team just hasn’t been able to summon a winning effort since Week 2 over the Detroit Lions. The 49ers were within 10 yards of respectable field goal range and a game-tying attempt when backup center Erik Magnuson catapulted the ball over Beathard’s head to end any chance. But that was only the crescendo of a fourth-quarter that spiraled out of control for the 49ers.
A pair of turnover firsts
The 49ers turned over the football 18 times in the first seven games. They didn’t add to to that total on Sunday. Not only did the offense not give up the ball, but the defense forced a pair of turnovers as well, giving the 49ers their first positive turnover ratio of the season. It’s one of few positive developments to take from a loss to the now 2-6 Cardinals.
Injuries continue to mount
The 49ers saw more starters afflicted by injury against the Cardinals Sunday. Safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) and linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring) both left the game in the first half Sunday and didn’t return. Receiver Marquise Goodwin and tight end George Kittle both missed snaps but returned. Center Weston Richburg (knee) and receiver Pierre Garçon(knee/shoulder) were both inactive. It’s tough to win with a roster this depleted.
Kendrick Bourne rising
Many, including myself, assumed returning rookie receiver Dante Pettis would make a significant impact with Garçon out. Pettis didn’t catch a single pass. Instead, it was second-year undrafted free agent Kendrick Bourne that stepped up to the plate. Bourne reeled in seven receptions on 10 targets for 71 yards, all a respective best among the offense.
Richard Sherman is human
The 49ers’ veteran cornerback finally showed signs of weakness against the Cardinals. Sherman, after only giving up one reception in his first five games as the 49ers’ starter, gave up a handful against the Cardinals. During the Arizona’s game-winning drive, quarterback Josh Rosen found rookie receiver Christian Kirk along the sideline with Sherman in coverage. On the next play, Rosen tested Sherman again in the end zone only to have the pass batted away on an impressive effort. Not a bad game by any means, but not up to the ridiculous standards Sherman’s established so far this season.