Niners Nuggets from Cards Game

Big Plays

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Allen Rossum took the opening kickoff back 104 yards to give the 49ers the initial lead.

Near the end of the first quarter, Rossum caught a Dirk Johnson punt and then handed off to Nate Clements on a reverse with Clements picking up 16 yards on the punt return

That set up Gore for an explosive 20-yard run that then led to the offense's first score of the game.

Directly after Gore's run, Josh Morgan came up with a 31-yard touchdown grab despite being interfered with by Roderick Hood. The rookie finished with four catches for 54 yards.

Vernon Davis reached over Adrian Wilson to catch an 18-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left in the first half on a 3rd and 10 down.

Jason Hill led the 49ers receiving efforts with 7 catches for 84 yards, but his most significant plays occurred on the final series when he came up with three consecutive receptions to advance the 49ers from their 38-yardline to the 1.

**49ers Win Ground Game

**Running back Frank Gore finished the day just one yard shy of 100 with 99 yards on 23 carries, a case of irony considering it was also only one yard that was needed to ultimately win the game.

Gore enjoyed a 4.0 average, a long run of 20 on the evening, and proved to be the most productive back on both sides of the ball in Monday Night's contest with Arizona.

The Cardinals again started rookie Tim Hightower, but he netted only 22 yards on his 13 rushes for a 1.7 average. His longest carry was a 12-yard run.

Edgerrin James had two rushes for four yards, and a 2.0 average, while J.J. Arrington had just one carry for one yard.

In all, Arizona scrounged up only 46 yards on 19 carries with their most productive ground carrier actually wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was used a few times out of the backfield.

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Playing Time

**Rookie guard Chilo Rachal came in at right guard in place of Tony Wragge for a few plays in the game. On his first snap, he provided a crushing blow on a stretch play that helped Frank Gore pop free for a 20-yard gain.

Wide receiver Dominique Zeigler was activated on Saturday from the practice squad, and made a key grab on a 2nd and 25 play on the 49ers second to last possession. Zeigler showed good run after the catch skills on the 22-yard pass play which set up the offense with a manageable 3rd and 3 play.

**Turnovers

**The 49ers turned the ball over three times in comparison to zero turnovers for the Cardinals.

Late in the third quarter, Adrian Wilson burst through the line to interfere with the snap to Hill. Arizona recovered at the 10-yardline, leading to a Neil Rackers' field goal at the start of the fourth quarter.

Two possessions later, Hill was intercepted by linebacker Karlos Dansby. A yellow flag gave the 49ers some hope that the turnover would again be negated, but the penalty was instead assessed on Isaac Bruce.

That led to the Arizona go-ahead touchdown.

The final turnover came with about two and a half minutes to play on a 3rd and 3 down when Shaun Hill attempted a shovel pass to Frank Gore, that was swiped by safety Adrian Wilson.
The defense held the Cards to a three and out after the interception.

Total points off of turnovers for Arizona, ten.

Sack Count

There were no sacks recorded for either defense, although Ray McDonald did get Kurt Warner down. Unfortunately, McDonald's sack was wiped out due to off-setting penalties that erased the down.

The 49ers did hurry and knock down a few other Warner's passes, but the NFL's two-time MVP quarterback still put up 328 passing yards.

**Direct Snaps

**The 49ers employed the Miami Dolphins wishbone formation a few times. They had their most success on a 3rd and 1 play where Michael Robinson lined up as a quarterback , faked the handoff to Gore, and then headed out to his right for a 5-yard pickup.

**Ouch

**Nate Clements was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty when he gave Larry Fitzgerald a slight shove after the receiver had made a catch. Following the penalty assessment, the Cardinals enjoyed a 1st and 10 from the 14. A few plays later, they scored on
a 4th and 1 touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald.

Michael Lewis was also flagged for a helmet hit on Kurt Warner on the following drive, which added on 15 yards to set Arizona up inside the 30.

Ray McDonald then notched the first sack of the game, but it was negated due to offsetting penalties.

The 49ers faced a 3rd and 1 in the third quarter but Frank Gore was stopped by Travis LaBoy for no gain. The 49ers opted to take the field goal, but it was a short yardage conversion that they needed to execute on.

The ultimate short yardage failures came at the end of the game when both Gore and Michael Robinson failed to punch it in from the 1 and then the 2-yardline.

While Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald were both held to under 100-yards receiving, the same could not be said for Steve Breaston, who enjoyed a big outing against the 49ers secondary with 7 catches for 121 yards. His longest reception was a 46-yard completion.

Linebacker Joe Staley and cornerback Walt Harris had good coverage on the play, but Breaston chased down the ball and extended out to make the grab.

**Yikes

**Although Shaun Hill avoided an "Ouch," it was definitely a "Yikes" moment when Antrell Rolle picked off his pass and returned it 30 yards for a score. Rolle's interception and TD return were nullified since Adrian Wilson was off-sides on the play.

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Challenges **

Both head coaches challenged a play, but only Ken Whisenhunt was successful.

Singletary challenged an incomplete ruling on a catch made by Jason Hill along the 49ers sidelines in the first quarter. Hill had both feet down, but officials saw additional angles during their review that led them to feel that Hill had not maintained possession of the ball. The 49ers lost the challenge and a timeout.

Whisenhunt used his challenge on a fumble by running back Tim Hightower that was recovered by the 49ers in the second quarter. Officials ruled that Hightower was down by contact and reversed the turnover.

Close Contests

Three out of the four last matchups with the Cardinals have come down to the final seconds. While the 49ers pulled out two victories in 2007, the Cardinals swept the 2008 series.

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