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The 49ers would have won against the Cardinals if...

Ridiculous doesn’t begin to explain how the final moments of that game went Sunday.

Raise your hand if in the final minutes when the San Francisco 49ers punted, you knew how this game was going to end. I know I did. The moment Josh Rosen hit the field, it was almost clockwork. The 49ers have been in this position several times, and they have always proven that they can blow it. Until they show otherwise, you knew, with Larry Fitzgerald on the field, he would somehow find a way to take one of the worst offenses in the NFL and ruin our lives.

So where do we begin with this? How about how the defense wasn’t God-awful this time around. They even generated some turnovers, imagine that. The offense didn’t turn the ball over—another point.k Unfortunately, that’s really all the offense did, nothing.

I said if the 49ers didn’t turn the ball over and could generate some turnovers themselves, they were going to win this game. I wrote that not thinking that C.J. Beathard would only complete half of his passes and get only 190 yards on the day. Even I gave him more credit than that.

Well, that’s what I get for thinking, I suppose. I really gave them more credit, I wasn’t counting on a full collapse in the final minutes of the game.

The 49ers would have won if...

The defense could actually hold on. I said if the defense stopped making bonehead mistakes and got some turnovers, the 49ers were walking out of here with a ‘W’. For most of the day the defense played very well. In fact, they actually played their best game. Don’t ask me, ask Richard Sherman. Despite some missed tackles and screen passes of all things manhandling them, the defense was stout.

Well, until the last six minutes. Because that’s when all bets were off. The Cardinals stormed downfield and the defense couldn’t get a stop (omitting colorful adjectives on the word “stop”) and blew it. Much like they did with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and so many other teams.

The elegant tank needs to go away for a bit. This roster, this team needs a WIN. Even without Jimmy Garoppolo, they need to show some sort of progress from year one to year two. The Cardinals were it.

The 49ers lost because...

The offense couldn’t extend a play when it needed to to stop that defensive collapse from happening. The 49ers defense managed turnovers and a safety among other things, but C.J. Beathard was inept. I’ll say it again: 190 yards passing. In the NFL, you either just gashed the ever-loving snot out of a team with a run game or you just couldn’t get anything going in the air.

Sure there was the AWESOME Marquise Goodwin touchdown catch which accounted for almost half of Beathard’s passing yards on the day, but so many balls were late or ill timed. The 49ers at some points were making backpedaled leaps to pluck balls out of the sky in an attempt to keep Beathard from losing this game for them.

The drive before the final Cardinals touchdown was just predictable. I almost could just time the three and out, and that muffed snap to end the game seemed more than adequate.

Before you go out and think this offense is terrible, remember, Beathard is a backup quarterback shoved into an extended role he shouldn’t be. I think we all remember what happened to the Indianapolis Colts after Peyton Manning was out for an entire season due to a neck injury: They wound up with the first pick in the draft. Starting quarterback matters. The 49ers just don’t have someone who can take the team over for the season and keep things normal. If they did, that quarterback would be starting somewhere.

Beathard is the best we have, and this was a foregone conclusion when he hit the field.

Still a win would be nice.