SF-ARI Grades: Cardinals keep rolling in NFC West
Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s San Francisco-Arizona game, including the highest-graded players for each team:
– QB Carson Palmer’s (+6.2) hot start continued this week, as he pierced the 49ers’ defense with no less than nine standout throws, three of which, unfortunately for his stat line, were dropped. Near-perfect when challenging the middle of the field (13-of-14, 199 yards and a TD), Palmer had no problem solving the SF secondary and has boosted himself into the race for the top spot among the league’s passers.
– Palmer’s go-to target, WR Larry Fitzgerald (+4.1 receiving, +4.4 overall), hauled in nine of the 11 balls his way for 134 yards and two scores, and did so seemingly against the entire 49er defense. With catches into the coverage of seven different defenders and room to work all day, San Francisco simply didn’t have the answer on the field.
– Slot-slash-safety Tyrann Mathieu (+3.3 coverage) was thrown at three times and gave up two yards on the one completion he allowed. The other two? He picked them both and returned one for a score. On track to easily surpass the outstanding form of his rookie year, Mathieu’s +7.3 overall grade for the season stands among the league’s best.
QB Carson Palmer (+6.2)
WR Larry Fitzgerald (+4.4)
S Tyrann Mathieu (+4.2)
DE Frostee Rucker (+2.5)
C Lyle Sendlein (+2.5)
San Francisco 49ers:
– QB Colin Kaepernick’s (-7.9) experience this week can be found at the far end of the spectrum from Palmer’s, as he balanced the accuracy of his Arizona counterpart with his own series of poor decisions. A pair of early pick-sixes set the stage, and when all was done, the 49er had a streak of red grades marking the right side of his passing map. On six attempts outside the right numbers, Kaepernick completed two and threw four interceptions.
– Rookie DE Arik Armstead (+1.7) picked up his first positively-graded game and added three total pressures to the two he gathered last week. His snap count gradually increasing (up to 18 plays this week); he also logged the first three defensive stops of his young career.
– The interior trio on San Francisco’s O-line collectively had a day to forget. While there wasn’t much damage done in pass protection (a sack, two hits and a hurry was the group’s total allowed), they each graded negatively as run blockers—C Marcus Martin at -4.2, LG Alex Boone at -2.2, and RG Jordan Devey at -1.7—regularly overwhelmed by the Arizona front.
DE Arik Armstead (+1.7)
DE Quinton Dial (+1.0)
LT Joe Staley (+1.0)
TE Garrett Celek (+0.9)
CB Dontae Johnson (+0.9)