The 49ers aerial attack was explosive on Sunday afternoon, and the team’s defense was opportunistic to say the least.
But when push came to shove in San Francisco’s matchup with Arizona – as it usually does between these NFC West rivals – the home team hummed to victory because of its running game.
Thanks to a late
The lengthy possession – it covered 89 yards and nine minutes and 32 seconds of game clock – ended in a six-yard
The 49ers (4-2,2-1) have won three straight regular season games for the first time the 2011 campaign, while the Cardinals (3-3, 0-2) snap their winning streak at two.
The Willis-led defense took advantage of the Cardinals sloppy ways early and often.
Three plays later, San Francisco first lead thanks to
Palmer was looking for Fitzgerald on the Cardinals’ fourth possession when cornerback
Trying to force a third pick (and Palmer’s would-be 12th of 2013), the 49ers defense was victimized three plays into the Cardinals ensuing drive. Palmer recorded the game’s initial first down and touchdown on the same pass-and-catch: He found Fitzgerald on a quick “in” route, and the All-Pro wideout beat
The 49ers fell behind the Cardinals, 7-6, entering the second quarter.
The second quarter was a different story. The defenses traded big plays early – Cardinals safety Yeremiah Bell picked off Kaepernick at the goal line before 49ers outside linebacker
His 180 yards overall was a single-game career high, and he became the first 49ers tight end in the team’s history to record 60-yard-plus scores in consecutive weeks; Davis scored on a 68-yard haul-and-sprint in the team’s Week 5 win over the Houston Texans.
Kaepernick threw for 252 yards overall and also committed a pair of turnovers, including a second-quarter fumble. Eight of his 16 completions went to Davis.
Up 22-20, with a minute remaining in the third quarter, inside linebacker Patrick Willis forced Fitzgerald to fumble. Willis was making his first appearance in three games since suffering a groin injury.
The 49ers turned their third turnover into the game’s longest drive, which covered most of the fourth quarter. Gore led the way, crossing the century mark in rushing yardage. He finished with 25 carries and 101 yards.