To open up my box of cliches, football is a game of inches. Yup, nailed it.
The 49ers learned the hard way in their 24-20 season-opening loss Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium. With the 49ers ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter, coach Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. That roll of the dice didn't go as planned.
Running back Raheem Mostert was stopped short of the goal line. The 49ers challenged the call on the field but lost.
Mostert, however, still believes he made it into the end zone.
"I thought I got in, but I gotta do a better job of lowering my pads and making sure I get in there," Mostert said to NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann after the loss.
The Cardinals wound up missing a field goal on the ensuing possession, so the missed opportunity didn't hurt the 49ers right away. It did in the long run, though.
It took until the ninth game of the season for the 49ers to lose a game last year. Through Week 1, they're the only team in the NFC West to lose a game. But they were inches away from adding to their lead and taking down Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in Santa Clara.
Every inch, every yard matters. Mostert couldn't get an important one, and it certainly hurt the defending NFC champions.