Warner embarrassed by 49ers' defensive effort in loss to Cardinals

Fred Warner, James Conner

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' defense had its worst performance of the season in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, Arizona still gained 437 yards on offense, including 163 yards on the ground. A 49ers defense that once prided itself on its ability to stop the run missed tackles and allowed multiple explosive plays.

The Cardinals ran seven plays that went for over 20 yards, and the 49ers had no answer for them. James Conner carried the ball 21 times for 96 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also caught all five of his targets for 77 yards and a receiving score.

After the game, a downtrodden Fred Warner admitted how he was feeling about the 49ers defense’s performance.

“Probably how you think,” the linebacker said. “It’s pretty embarrassing, and it’s unacceptable, for sure."

Every player who stood at the podium, along with coach Kyle Shanahan, believed the team didn't overlook the Murray-less Cardinals. Warner and his teammates relayed that the energy was high all week, and Shanahan spoke about not allowing Sunday afternoon to be a let-down game.

“That's something that I aggressively talked about last night,” Shanahan said. “For those guys to let down on it, I think it came down to, you guys saw how we tackled out there. We didn't stop the run, and we didn't stop those screens.


“When you're giving up some explosive screens and all of that free yardage, it wouldn't have mattered who was playing quarterback. We made it extremely easy on them.”

Warner, who was responsible for 14 total tackles (six solo), believes the team isn't playing to its potential while making costly mistakes. The 49ers' defensive line only got to Colt McCoy for two sacks and five quarterback hits, but not being able to stop the run really was the biggest issue.

“I feel like every time with a lot of that stuff, it’s us beating ourselves,” Warner said. “Not tackling correctly, being out of gap.”

RELATED: Grades for 49ers' offense, defense in bad loss to Cardinals

The 49ers will have an extra day to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams' Week 10 visit to Levi’s Stadium, where San Francisco is 1-8 over the last two seasons. The 49ers will need the entire defense on top of its assignments in order to right the ship and possibly keep the 3-5 team's slim playoff hopes alive.

“It’s one of those ones you got to move past quick," Warner said. "It was embarrassing defensively what we put on tape. You want to get the taste out of your mouth and just get right back to work.”

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