ReFo: 49ers @ Cardinals, Week 3
Despite missing Carson Palmer for the last two games, the Cardinals have started the season 3-0 and remain ahead in the competitive NFC West. After losing both matchups with the 49ers a season ago, Arizona came back from an 8-point halftime deficit to take this game 23-14, sealing it with a late field goal from rookie Chandler Catanzaro, who remains perfect on the year.
San Francisco couldn’t maintain their fast start as their offense sputtered in the second half; they finished the game with just 236 passing yards and an average of less than 3.5 yards per carry rushing, though Arizona’s defense is among the best they’ll face this season.
As always, let’s take a look at who stood out for both teams.
San Francisco – Performances of Note
Ian Williams, DL: +3.7
Breakdown: Picked up a pressure and batted pass in 13 pass rushes while handling center Lyle Sendlein in the run game, with all three of his tackles counting as a defensive stop.
Signature Play: 3Q, 6:40. Quickly got outside of guard Ted Larsen to pressure the QB (along with Patrick Willis) and force an incompletion.
Colin Kaepernick, QB: -2.0
Breakdown: Maybe a case where the stats don’t quite line up with the grade; outside of three throwaways and a drop, Kaepernick missed on just four of his 34 pass attempts. However, one of those incompletions probably should have gone for a pick-six but was dropped by Antonio Cromartie (3Q, 12:18), while his 29 completions travelled less than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage on average.
Signature Play: 4Q, 4:14. Badly missed an open Brandon Lloyd on 3rd-and-19 late in the game down six. The 49ers punted on the next play and didn’t get the ball back until 23 seconds left in the game, down nine.
Eric Reid, S: -3.0
Breakdown: Rough day for the second-year safety, with two penalties either extending or improving Arizona drives, while he found himself out of position on a pair of touchdown passes to John Brown.
Signature Play: 3Q, 4:44. Bit hard on a pump fake and the threat of Larry Fitzgerald on an underneath route, leaving Jimmie Ward with no help deep, as Brown caught his second touchdown of the game.
Arizona – Performances of Note
Drew Stanton, QB: -1.2
Breakdown: Starting his second game in place of Carson Palmer, Stanton again did enough to win, displaying solid pocket presence and movement while making several impressive throws, notably his two touchdown passes to John Brown. As his grade indicates, though, he also benefited from butterfingers in the 49ers’ secondary on some forced throws and could easily have finished with a couple of interceptions instead of a clean sheet – check out 2Q, 0:13, 3Q, 10:50, and 4Q, 9:44 for some examples.
Signature Stat: Attempted 13 deep (20+ yard) passes, four more than any QB in Sunday’s games, which accounted for just under 40% of his total attempts.
Calais Campbell, DL: +2.7
Breakdown: A standard performance from one of the league’s best defensive linemen. Only picked up two pressures, but beat Mike Iupati on a number of plays, either drawing double team help or having little chance with a quick release from Kaepernick. And in run defense, three of his four tackles counted as defensive stops. Through three games, only JJ Watt has a higher grade at his position and none of his qualifying peers has a better Run Stop Percentage than his 17.2%.
Signature Play: 2Q, 1:54. Around Iupati in under two seconds, but couldn’t quite get enough of Kaepernick to bring him down for the sack.
Larry Foote, LB: -5.5
Breakdown: After a solid start to the season, Foote hit a brick wall in this one, struggling in every facet of defense despite picking up three stops. Notched a single hurry in 13 pass rushes, while allowing every pass into his coverage to be completed, though the largest portion of his negative grade can be attributed to three missed tackles (2Q, 10:21, 3Q 3:37 and 1:47).
Signature Stat: Only two linebackers have missed more tackles this season than Foote’s six.
PFF Game Ball
John Brown gets this one for his two touchdown catches, taking advantage of some poor safety play by the 49ers on both.