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9 Takeaways: Cardinals 18 - 49ers 15 in Week 4

Posted Oct 1, 2017

Larry Fitzgerald's walkoff touchdown catch in overtime handed the 49ers their fourth-straight loss to open the season.



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Close, but no cigar. The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 18-15, in crushing fashion. Larry Fitzgerald's walk-off 19-yard touchdown catch in overtime sent the 49ers to 0-4.

In a game headlined by defense and field goals, San Francisco once again came up short in a close game. Here are all of Sunday's takeaways.

1. The 49ers got the ball first in overtime. Aided by a defensive pass interference penalty drawn by Trent Taylor, San Francisco began marching into Arizona territory. Kyle Juszczyk converted a 3rd-and-4 situation with an 8-yard run. Carlos Hyde followed with a catch all the way to the Cardinals 5-yard line. The 49ers were forced to settle for Robbie Gould's fifth field goal of the day.

That opened the door for Arizona. The Cardinals promptly marched down the field. Carson Palmer's toss to Fitzgerald came with under a minute remaining in overtime and stood as the game's only touchdown. This is the third-straight game that the 49ers have lost by three points or less.

2. San Francisco's offense continued to struggle in the first half, mustering just six points over the first two quarters. The 49ers opened the second half with an impressive drive into the red zone, marching down the field on a series of chunk plays. An 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Breida was wiped out due to an offensive pass interference penalty against Taylor. Instead, San Francisco had to settle for its third field goal of the game.

Things stalled completely in the fourth quarter as the 49ers failed to gain a single first down. Brian Hoyer finished the game with 234 passing yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a rating of 54.3. Hyde ran for 68 yards on 16 carries. Aldrick Robinson led the 49ers with 52 receiving yards.

3. As expected, the defense was vastly improved given the 10-day break between games. Arizona drove down the field to open the game, but Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted Carson Palmer in the end zone to keep the Cardinals from scoring. Rashard Robinson nearly picked off the pass, but Armstrong was able to make a diving catch for the takeaway. It was Armstrong's second-career interception and just San Francisco's second pick of the season.

4. The 49ers defense bent several times, but never broke during regulation. That's thanks in large part to San Francisco's pass rush. The 49ers had six sacks and 16 total quarterback hits against Palmer. DeForest Buckner, Eli Harold, Elvis Dumervil (x2), Armstrong and Solomon Thomas all got their first sacks of the season. Buckner continued to be a dominant player, winning most 1-on-1 matchups and recording four total quarterback hits. Dumervil got sacks Nos. 100 and 101 for his career.

5. To compensate for their banged up offensive line and mitigate San Francisco's pressure, Palmer continuously threw it short to running backs. Andre Ellington had nine receptions for 86 yards and Chris Johnson caught three passes for 31 yards. Jaron Brown led the Cardinals with 105 receiving yards on eight receptions. Palmer finished with 357 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. Johnson had 32 rushing yards to lead the Cardinals.

6. Penalties and third downs continue to be thorns in San Francisco's side. The two statistics, which go hand-in-hand, were not in the 49ers favor on Sunday. San Francisco was penalized 13 times for 113 yards. In turn, the 49ers converted just 5-of-19 third-down attempts.

7. Gould is now 11-for-11 on field-goal attempts this season. He was good from 49, 39, 47, 48 and 23 yards against Arizona. Gould has made 28 consecutive field-goal attempts dating back to 2015.

8. Bradley Pinion had probably the best game of his career. Pinion punted the ball seven times with a 50.1-yard average and a long of 59 yards. Each kick had plenty of hangtime as the Cardinals were held to just 12 yards on four punt returns.

9. Some injury notes. Rashard Robinson left the game with an ankle injury, but returned a play later.

Marquise Goodwin left the game with a concussion. Dekoda Watson left the game with a groin injury. Adrian Colbert left the game with a hamstring injury. Neither player returned to the game.

Hoyer's knee got bent back awkwardly on one play, but the quarterback only left the game for one play. C.J. Beathard played one snap and handed the ball off to Hyde for a gain of 15 yards.