Cardinals Put Up Fight Against 49ers But Leave With Loss

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Cardinals didn’t win on Sunday, but they found – again – another piece of what they will eventually need to earn more victories.

The 35-16 loss was headed for something much worse. All-world 49ers running back Christian McCaffery had four touchdowns and surely will leave defensive coordinator Nick Rallis scrambling to find a response the next time the teams play later this season.

Such a game could have been derailed early. It did derail the last time the teams played in Mexico last season. These are the steps this team must take.

“You’re never happy after an ‘L'” tackle D.J. Humphries said. “But knowing you have some guys in your foxhole that are willing to fight and scratch and claw, that’s always good to know.

Coach Jonathan Gannon acknowledged after the margin for error isn’t great against a team like San Francisco.

“I appreciate the fight and the effort,” Gannon said. “We have to play cleaner execution-wise, cleaner with our brains, to beat that football team.”

McCaffery had 177 total yards – 106 rushing – as the Cardinals (1-3) felt the loss of injured defensive starters L.J. Collier, Josh Woods, Jonathan Ledbetter, and Budda Baker. Then again, the 49ers (4-0) have their offense working to perfection at the moment, and the players on the other side may not change much.

Quarterback Brock Purdy, who still hasn’t lost a game he has started with the 49ers, threw only one incompletion in 21 attempts, for 283 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers scored at least 30 points again, doing so in the first four games for the first time in franchise history. The last NFL team to do that? The Cardinals in 2021.


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