49ers

Instant Analysis: 49ers stunned by Cardinals in OT, fall to 0-4

Instant Analysis: 49ers stunned by Cardinals in OT, fall to 0-4

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. – One week after falling short in an offensive shootout, the 49ers settled into a kickers’ duel on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals and old friend Phil Dawson.

But, in the end, the best player on the field came up with the best play of the day.

Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald made a leaping touchdown catch between two 49ers defenders for the walk-off touchdown -- the only points scored by a non-kicker -- to send the 49ers to a disheartening 18-15 loss in overtime.

The 49ers fall to 0-4 in coach Kyle Shanahan's first season.

Robbie Gould kicked his fifth field goal of the game to cap a 49ers drive of 7 minutes, 26 seconds, giving the 49ers a 15-12 lead in the extra period. The Cardinals got their chance to respond in the 10-minute overtime period. Fitzgerald made the touchdown catch to beat the coverage of Rashard Robinson and Jimmie Ward to haul in the 19-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer for the winning points with 32 seconds remaining in overtime.

Gould, who replaced Dawson this season, made field goals of 49, 39, 47, 48 and 32 yards to run his streak of consecutive made field goals to 28 dating back to the 2015 season.

Dawson’s made field goals came from 29, 43, 50 and 32 yards.

The matchup was the third NFC West game in three weeks for the 49ers, who lost to the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams in back-to-back weeks by a combined five points. The 49ers, who did not score any touchdowns in the first two games of the season, fell short in a 41-39 loss to the Rams in Week 3.

But the 49ers could not ride that offensive momentum against the Cardinals. The offense sputtered for most of the game, as the 49ers began a three-game swing of road games. The team travels to Indianapolis next week before going to Washington for an Oct. 15 game.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer and the 49ers’ offense struggled to string plays together. He took some hits, had some miscommunications with his receivers and was off the mark on some of his attempts. He completed 24 of 49 passes for 234 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

Running back Carlos Hyde, who entered the game as the NFL’s third-leading rusher, finished with 68 yards on 16 rushing attempts.

Palmer took his share of hits, too. Arizona had to piece things together on the left side of its offensive line with injuries to left tackle D.J. Humphries and guards Mike Iupati and Alex Boone.

Palmer completed 33 of 51 pass attempts for 357 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Fitzgerald was held in check for most of the game. He caught just four passes for 32 yards, but his touchdown reception was the difference. Fitzgerald has caught 17 touchdown passes against the 49ers in his career.

INJURY REPORT
Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin left the game in the first half with head and eye injuries and was later diagnosed with a concussion. It is particularly bothersome because Goodwin was twice diagnosed with concussions last season while with the Buffalo Bills.

Rookie safety and core special-teams player Adrian Colbert sustained a hamstring injury in the second quarter and was ruled out for the game.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson left the game with a groin injury in the second half and did not return.

BETHEA PICKS OFF HOYER
Former 49ers safety Antoine Bethea intercepted the 20th pass of his career, and few were probably as easy as the gift he received late in the first half.

Receiver Trent Taylor went to the ground on an out-breaking route, as Hoyer lofted a gentle pass down the field. Bethea made the easy interception and returned it 16 yards. Shanahan argued vehemently that Taylor went down due to illegal contact.

The play set up Dawson’s 43-yard field goal to pull the Cardinals even at 6-6 with 1:29 remaining in the first half.

Bethea intercepted five passes during his three seasons with the 49ers. He signed with the Cardinals after the 49ers released him in March.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil recorded two of the 49ers' six sacks to eclipse the 100-sack mark for his career. Dumervil now has 101 sacks.

--Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas recorded the first sack of his career. Thomas threw Palmer for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-10 play to force a Cardinals punt late in the first half. Thomas was the No. 3 overall selection in the draft.

--The 49ers thwarted the Cardinals’ opening-drive scoring chance when linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted a Palmer pass that originally deflected off the hands of 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson. Armstrong led the 49ers with 10 tackles. He also recorded a sack.

--Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, who defensive coordinator Robert Saleh predicted would break through in the sack column, recorded his first sack of the season, too.

--Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard made his NFL debut in the third quarter. He entered the game for one play when Hoyer left after taking a big hit. Beathard handed off to Hyde, who gained 15 yards on the play. Hoyer returned for the next snap.

--Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner was honored at halftime. He concluded his remarks, saying it’s appropriate that he’s being honored in a game in which the Cardinals are facing the 49ers because no other team is as responsible for him earning this honor. Warner threw for 3,807 yards and 24 touchdowns in 14 career games against the 49ers.

2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home

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AP

2020 NFL Draft: How 49ers' John Lynch prepares while working from home

The 2020 NFL Draft will be held as scheduled -- albeit remotely -- amid the coronavirus pandemic, keeping 49ers general manager John Lynch plenty busy during California's shelter-in-place order.

In-person visits with prospects at the team's facility or elsewhere are off, but Lynch said he is able to make the most of watching film of potential picks while working from his home office.

“People have a lot bigger problems than we do, I can tell you that,” Lynch told NBC Sports' Peter King for his "Football Morning in America" column. “This year’s a lot different than any year scouts and GMs have had, obviously, with all the challenges. But this time of year, what you really need is time.

"The other day, [coach] Kyle [Shanahan] called and said, ‘This is unbelievable! I’m getting so much done.’ And he’s right. He and I, this time of year, would be watching this tape in our offices, and the difference is our doors aren’t getting knocked on 50 times a day. I’m really getting a lot done.”

Lynch and Shanahan have more prospects to examine than they did a month ago. The 49ers acquired another first-round draft pick -- No. 13 overall -- when they traded dominant defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco, before then, was scheduled to make its first pick with the No. 31 overall selection.

[RELATED: 49ers' Jones switches agencies entering final year of deal]

That additional prep very well could've included watching Louisville's Mekhi Becton, whose Cardinals were on-screen in footage Lynch was watching during a video posted to social media last week showing how he was preparing for the draft at home. The offensive lineman is projected to be a top-10 pick next month, and Lynch simply wouldn't have had much reason to watch him with the 49ers' first pick set for the very end of the first round.

We'll know some of the players whom Lynch, Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers closely watched when the NFL draft begins April 23. The 49ers currently have seven picks: Two in the first round, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss

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USATSI

Colts' DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day driven by 49ers' Super Bowl loss

Sheldon Day and DeForest Buckner will be teammates on a new team next season, driven by the last loss with their old one.

The defensive linemen joined the Indianapolis Colts this offseason via free agency and trade, respectively, after playing together for the 49ers since midway through the 2017 season. Day and Buckner's final games with San Francisco were in the 49ers' 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, and Day said the pair has additional motivation after not lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy last season.

"It was right there in our hands, and all we had to do was squeeze it and grab it (in Super Bowl LIV), and we let up," Day told reporters on his introductory conference call last week (via Colts.com). "So ultimately we have a chip on our shoulders and we know how to get there, and now we know what to do to overcome that shortcoming that we had."

Buckner sacked eventual Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes 1.5 times in the game, accounting for three of the 49ers' nine QB hits. Day, meanwhile, played a little over half of San Francisco's 76 defensive snaps and picked up a tackle.

[RELATED: 49ers' Jones switches agencies entering final year of deal]

The Indianapolis native played in a career-high 16 games with the 49ers during the 2019 regular season, and Day started each of San Francisco's playoff games. Day credited his growth to playing with Buckner, and he's going to continue picking his brain while they're still teammates.

"DeForest (has) made me detail my game," Day said. "So we would be working on pass-rush moves, bouncing ideas off of each other, just trying to make sure that our game grew together, and we're always giving each other tips. If I see something on film [I'm reaching] out to him, and vice versa. So, man, what a special guy he is."

All the while, the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV won't be far from either player's mind.