SANTA CLARA — After falling behind 16-0 for their biggest deficit of the season, the 49ers pulled within 16-10 at halftime of today’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Here are the highs and lows from the 49ers’ effort to rebound today from their first loss of the season:
RICHIE JAMES JR.: After seeing no offensive snaps Monday night, he took a backside screen pass 57 yards to the Cardinals’ 18-yard line, a near-perfect answer to a 16-0 deficit.
TE ROSS DWELLEY: His first career touchdown came in much-needed fashion, after the 49ers fell behind 16-0. His 4-yard touchdown catch on third-and-goal got the 49ers their first points. Dwelley got open nicely in the back of the end zone, and such production is needed when George Kittle is missing his second straight game. Dwelley had a touchdown catch negated by a holding penalty 39 seconds before halftime.
FB KYLE JUSZCZYK: He caught Jimmy Garoppolo’s first pass (4 yards) and followed up with a 14-yard reception over the middle to set up first-and-goal on their initial touchdown drive.
GOAL-LINE DEFENSE: Gifted first-and-goal at the 3 after a replay challenge cited Richard Sherman for pass interference, the Cardinals settled for a field goal. Jaquiski Tartt’s first-down pursuit of Kyler Murray yielded only a 1-yard gain, then a pass-interference call on the Cards’ Christian Kirk nullified a TD to a wide open Charles Clay. DeForest Buckner’s pursuit halted a Murray at the 8, then an incompletion (with a Nick Bosa hit on Murray) set up the field goal.
QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO: He eventually heated up, and a 14-yard reception to Emmanuel Sanders got them in the red zone a minute before halftime. Despite five drops (though not as blatant as Monday’s), Garoppolo has a 102.4 rating (8-of-15, 121 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT).
K CHASE McLAUGHLIN: In his first attempt since 47-yard OT miss Monday night, makes 43-yard field goal for 16-10 deficit at halftime
P MITCH WISHNOWSKY: The 49ers rookie punter unleashed a 51-yard punt that the Cardinals fair caught. A second-quarter kickoff to the goal line forced a Cardinals return that only reached the 19-yard line.
DROP ZONE, SEQUEL: After seven (or eight) passes got dropped Monday night, this epidemic continues to infiltrate the 49ers, who saw Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne (two contested passes), Raheem Mostert (fourth down) and Emmanuel Sanders drop passes. (The Cardinals’ Christian Kirk dropped a third-down fastball to try evening things out.)
SHERMAN PASS INTERFERENCE: Richard Sherman’s three pass-interference penalties are more than any he’s had in an entire season since 2016. On his first penalty Sunday, Sherman tugged on Christian Kirk’s back as a third-down bomb went off Kirk’s helmet, and a replay challenge awarded the Cardinals first-and-goal at the 3. Sherman drew a pass interference penalty at the 5 vs. Kirk on the next series, setting up a touchdown and 9-0 deficit. His third P.I. call yielded no damage other than field position.
RUN GAME: Through the first quarter, the league’s No.2-ranked rushing attack produced 7 yards on five carries: Tevin Coleman, 1 yard; Raheem Mostert, 3 yards; Mostert, 2 yards; Coleman, -1 yard; Coleman, 2 yards. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s return hasn’t been the boost as expected.
FS JIMMIE WARD: His left-ankle injured early in the game, Ward couldn’t change directions in time in one-on-one space and allowed a 5-yard, second-quarter touchdown catch to Pharoh Cooper for a 16-0 deficit.
LB ELIJAH LEE: He looked lost and Larry Fitzgerald looked wide open, resulting in Fitzgerald’s 5-yard touchdown catch and his 19th in 32 career games against the 49ers.
SHANAHAN CHALLENGE: Kyle Shanahan unconvincingly dropped a challenge flag hoping for a Kyler Murray fumble. No dice. Ground caused it. Challenge lost, timeout lost.