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.
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.