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49ers takeaways: What we learned from 18-15 loss to Cardinals

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AP

49ers takeaways: What we learned from 18-15 loss to Cardinals

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 49ers needed a win in the worst way. Instead, they got a loss -- in the worst possible way.

The 49ers’ offense struggled for most of the game, and the defense sustained a couple of injuries to key players, as San Francisco's skid hit six games with a 18-15 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

The 49ers fell to 1-7 and sit all alone in the cellar of the NFC West, while the Cardinals improved to 2-6 with their second victory over the 49ers in four weeks.

Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen hit Christian Kirk with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining to enable the Cardinals to rally from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit for the win.

The game was the first of three consecutive matchups for the 49ers against teams that entered Week 8 with only one win. They return to action Thursday night against the Raiders before facing the New York Giants in Week 10 on Monday Night Football.

Here are three quick takeaways from the 49ers’ win over the hapless Cardinals:

Taking care of the ball

It was far from a masterpiece for the 49ers. But it was a marked improvement over the last time the teams met, just three weeks ago at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

On that day, the 49ers dominated the Cardinals in every statistical category, except turnovers. And with a minus-five turnover margin, the 49ers were 28-18 losers to the previously winless Cardinals.

On Sunday, the 49ers had several near-misses. C.J. Beathard had a pass batted in the air at the line of scrimmage that dropped to the ground. And rookie Dante Pettis muffed a punt return with the ball hitting him in the face. But teammate Elijah Lee was there for the recovery.

In the second quarter, the 49ers snapped a streak in which they committed 15 consecutive giveaways without a takeaway when safety Jaquiski Tartt came up with the team’s second interception of the season.

Defense is the best offense

While the 49ers’ offense struggled out of the gate Sunday, the defense was the lone bright spot as the team took a 5-3 lead in the second quarter.

The 49ers even broke a streak of 16 consecutive quarters without generating a takeaway, when Tartt intercepted Josh Rosen’s pass over the middle intended for rookie receiver Christian Kirk in the second quarter.

Tartt returned the interception 23 yards to the Arizona 12. After three unsuccessful offensive plays, kicker Robbie Gould made a 27-yard field goal.

The 49ers scored first when defensive end Cassius Marsh wrapped up Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen in the end zone. Rosen tried to throw the ball away but was called for intentional grounding and a safety.

Another defensive highlight of the first half came when Richard Sherman came off the left corner to record a sack. It was just the second sack of his eight-year NFL career, and the first since his second NFL season of 2012.

Beathard’s first-half struggles

The 49ers’ offense was a hot, stinking mess in the first half while the defense played well.

Beathard and Co. again looked completely overmatched. Through the first 30 minutes, Beathard completed just four of nine pass attempts for 39 yards. He was sacked three times for minus-22 yards.

Tight end George Kittle and fullback Kyle Juszczyk were called for false starts. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who started in place of injured Pierre Garçon, seemed to have difficulty on multiple occasions figuring out where to line up after breaking the huddle. The 49ers twice called timeouts to avoid delay penalties.

The second half didn't begin much better, either, but wide receiver Marquise Goodwin’s big-play ability provided a big boost in the third quarter. Goodwin caught a shallow crossing route against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and turned it into a 55-yard touchdown. The play provided the 49ers with a 12-3 lead.

Beathard finished the game -- his ninth loss in 10 career starts -- completing 14 of 28 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions for a passer rating of 83.9.

Kyle Shanahan explains 49ers' choice to hire Chris Foerster as consultant

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Kyle Shanahan explains 49ers' choice to hire Chris Foerster as consultant

October 9, 2017 is a day Chris Foerster would like to take back. 

It’s the day a video of him snorting a white powdery substance in the Miami Dolphins’ facility went viral. Shortly after, Foerster resigned, and he has not coached again in the NFL.

Technically, Foerster still isn’t a coach, but rather a consultant for the 49ers, a role he has held since the 2018 offseason.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine first reported Foerster's role with the 49ers on Friday.

After the news broke, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area exclusively about Foerster, his role with the team and why he wants to help him on his path back to redemption. The two men spent four seasons together in Washington, where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2013.

“We found out about it [the video] when the whole world found out about it,” Shanahan said. “When it happened, we were as shocked as anyone, from my wife to anybody. It’s nothing I’d want to stick up for. These are extremely bad things that I know he’s not proud of, and I’m not proud of.

“He did something extremely stupid, and since then, he has hit rock bottom. He went to rehab for 60 days, and then he was in a 90-day outpatient rehab. For the last two years, he’s been in a 12-step program that he’s been to every single night seven days a week.”

Shanahan also explained why the 49ers didn’t make Foerster’s role with the team public from the beginning.

“If he was fully on our coaching staff, going to practice and going to games, I understand that it’s something that I’d have to address, but he’s not,” Shanahan said. “He’s in a consulting role. A lot of teams have consultants. I understand the ramifications of that, and why people will ask why I didn’t say anything about it.”

Shanahan made his feelings about Foerster’s actions very clear, which is why giving him a second chance does not come without restrictions.

“He is still in a consulting role because I do understand the seriousness of this matter,” Shanahan said. “We’re trying to ease him back in. I understand how big of a problem he did have. I also understand what he’s doing in committing to fix that problem. We’re trying to give him a chance to get back on track.

“I also understand that people make huge mistakes, and ... he’s trying to make amends and he’s trying to make it right.”

Technically, NFL rules state that a consultant without a coaching or team contract is allowed to participate on the field during practice but not during games. Foerster, however, has been relegated to watching film and attending position group and team meetings.

Shanahan explained that it has been a gradual process in which Foerster has had to earn his way back into a role with the team. It was a calculated risk Shanahan was willing to take.

“To help him with a job and make some money, and also because he’s good at it, we gave him a consulting role last year,” Shanahan said. “He helped us from afar with advanced scouting reports and things like that. He would just look at teams the week ahead and send us some information, all typed up because he was never in town.

“This year, we took it a step forward. We brought him in part-time but still a consultant, but he is in the office at times. He’s able to do things like watch film with us, but he’s still in a consulting role.”

Shanahan and the 49ers are holding Foerster to a high standard — possibly higher than anyone else in the building. Thus far, he has done everything they have asked of him.

"We are not going to act like flat out it didn’t happen and just let him back in right away,” Shanahan said. “We are taking a very slow process, and that’s why we did the first year the way we did and why it led to the second year.”

Ultimately, Shanahan and the 49ers have given Foerster a chance to rebuild his professional life while he tries to piece back together his personal life as well.

“He’s done that exactly the right way for two years,” Shanahan said. “We will see if he continues to do that, and then we will reassess that after this year. If it continues to go well, I think he has a chance to get his life back on track. And that’s really all we are trying to do.”

Shanahan believes that no matter where Foerster is, as long as he stays on the straight and narrow, he is a valuable asset.

[RELATED: 49ers vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online]

“Whether it helps him with the 49ers or helps him somewhere else, I know he’s a good coach who went through a very hard time, made some huge mistakes that he is dealing with, and deserves to deal with those because they were messed-up things,” Shanahan said. “I also know how he feels about those mistakes and what he’s done over the last two years to try and make amends, and I know he’s continuing to do that.

“I’m just pulling for him that he can keep up with it. If he does keep up with it, then whether it’s with the 49ers or with someone else, you’re going to get a good person and a good coach. I’m just really hoping that he can get back to being the healthy guy I knew in Washington, and that’s what I see so far.”

49ers vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

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49ers vs. Chiefs live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

Every human has a place or venue that brings back painful memories or nightmares. It might be school, a place where someone got dumped, or maybe a particular street or highway where someone gets into an accident.

For Jimmy Garoppolo, that place might just be Arrowhead Stadium. The last time he stepped on the turf in Kansas City -- Garoppolo tore his ACL on a scramble while trying to cut back -- ending his 2018 campaign.

And yet, that is where he and the 49ers are headed Saturday as they take on the Kansas City Chiefs for each team's third preseason game. Jimmy G is expected to get the start, although head coach Kyle Shanahan has been coy about how much playing time will be had for the quarterback.

Garoppolo had a dreadful preseason debut Monday, completing just one of six passes for zero yards and throwing an interception against the Denver Broncos.

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes III will start for the Chiefs, who lost 17-7 to the Steelers in their most recent preseason appearance.

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo's struggles don't faze 49ers' Richard Sherman, NFL scouts]

Here's how you can watch 49ers-Chiefs: 

Start time: Saturday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS (KPIX) 
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial