GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 18-15 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 on Sunday:
1. The passing game is substandard
Quarterback Brian Hoyer and Co. are just not cutting it.
Coach Kyle Shanahan is known as an offensive guru, but the 49ers have been held without a touchdown in three of their four games. Hoyer was not the team’s only offensive player who had a bad game, but his poor performance was the most glaring.
Hoyer completed 24 of 49 pass attempts for 234 yards with an interception. He was also sacked three times. Hoyer was off-target on many of his throws. On others, it appeared he was not on the same page with his wide receivers.
Also, wide receiver Aldrick Robinson and tight end George Kittle had crucial dropped passes.
“You got to throw and catch better,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “To me, it’s as simple as that. At least it was in this game from what I saw. When guys are open and you have the time, you have to hit them. And when he does hit you, you have to catch it. I know nobody’s perfect, but there was way too much of that between both positions today.”
2. Cannot close the deal
The 49ers lost their third consecutive game to an NFC West team, and it should come as absolutely no consolation that the 49ers have lost to Seattle, the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona by a combined eight points.
This is a team that does not know how to win. At this stage, they are good enough to just barely lose.
The 49ers had a chance to close the deal in overtime when the offense had a first-and-goal at the Arizona 8-yard line. A touchdown would have ended the game. But Carlos Hyde was stopped for a 4-yard loss on first down. He gained 7 yards on second down. On third and goal from the 5, Hoyer threw incomplete.
Robbie Gould kicked his fifth field goal of the game, giving the 49ers a 15-12 lead and leaving the Cardinals with just 2 minutes, 24 seconds to respond. That was more than enough for Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald.
The 49ers had a strong defensive effort throughout, but they could not stop the Cardinals one last time. Palmer and Fitzgerald teamed up for a 19-yard touchdown pass for the winning points with :32 remaining in overtime.
For the third game in a row, the 49ers have not been able to come up with the big play at the right time. The Cardinals’ veteran offensive playmakers took full advantage of their final chance.
3. No time to sulk
There were more than a few choice words being uttered as the 49ers came off the field and entered their locker room following Sunday’s game.
The defense showed a lot of signs of rounding into a strong unit. But the offense is bound to be at the top of general manager John Lynch’s list to experience an infusion of talent next offseason.
Shanahan and Lynch are under six-year contracts. Each player knows if he does not work hard and improve throughout this season, he will probably not be back next season.
Veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman said he emphasized the point to his younger teammates that the team has to continue to work hard not let the frustration of the past three games carry over to next week’s preparation for the game against the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s human nature. I’ve seen it, guys lose a couple of games and can’t get it turned around,” Bowman said. “I just want to stress that we have to stay together as a team and remember the work we put in together. We’ll get it turned around.”