The San Francisco 49ers lost 28-18 to the Arizona Cardinals, and there are a host of reasons why. We can point to numerous drops, poor execution on offense, and tackling woes (although there appeared to be fewer missed tackles than normal). But if we want to find one number to pin this loss on, it would have to be 5.
The 49ers offense coughed up the ball five times in Week 5. C.J. Beathard threw two interceptions and was twice stripped of the ball on pass plays. Additionally, Raheem Mostert was stripped of the ball in the second quarter. The 49ers defense was unable to force turnovers of their own, and a -5 in the turnover department resulted in this rather obscene statistical performance:
The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to pick up 30 first downs, hold their opponent to 10 or fewer first downs, and lose by double-digits.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) October 7, 2018
After today, NFL teams are 46-4 all time when they pick up 30 first downs and hold their opponent to 10 or fewer.
The 49ers had 33 first downs to the Cardinals 10 first downs. The 49ers out-gained the Cardinals 447 yards to 220 yards. Finally, the 49ers controlled time of possession 40:12 to 19:48. Drops and generally poor execution cost the 49ers, but when you dominate on the stat sheet like this, turnovers are the easiest way to entirely negate that.
Beathard gets the bulk of the blame in this regard. He did not get enough help from his pass catchers much of the day, but his fumbles were primarily on him. The 49ers receivers are struggling to get separation, but even still, Beathard has to have better pocket presence.
This is just one of many problems that need to be cleaned up. The 49ers can clean up their tackling and pass catching, but a -5 in turnover differential can rarely be overcome.