Cardinals Run Out Town By 49ers, 23-7

The Arizona Cardinals fall to 3-7 on the season after losing to their division rivals in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score might indicate.

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22 Total Updates since November 15, 2011
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San Francisco 49ers Bury Arizona Cardinals, Final Score 23-7

The Arizona Cardinals were feeling pretty good about themselves after needing a blocked field goal to beat the Rams at home and a late touchdown drive to beat Michael Vick's broken ribs. Then they went to San Francisco all fired up to face a division rival, but any thoughts of progress were quickly eliminated.

John Skelton, who at one point was the subject of a quarterback controversy thanks to two "wins" in two starts in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, threw half as many of his completed passes to the other team. He went 6-19 with three horrible interceptions on very poorly thrown balls. 

The guy who was recently called "special" for his fourth quarter play didn't make into the fourth quarter before being benched in favor of third-string QB Richard Bartel.

There's very little about this game on the offensive side of the ball that can be considered a positive other then the end to any discussion of Kevin Kolb not getting his job back once he's healthy. We can safely put that discussion to bed.

Defensively, the Cardinals played as well as could be expected. They blocked two field goals, recorded a pick in the red zone and at least in the first half forced the 49ers into three points instead of allowing seven on multiple occasions. But no defense can hold up when the offense can't sustain drives and turns the ball over five times (three Skelton interceptions, Wells fumble, Peterson fumble).

The Cardinals did show some fight in the fourth quarter after Chester Taylor broke off a 34-yard run and Bartel found Larry Fitzgerald for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Or maybe it's more correct to say, Bartel through a ball through the defenders hands and Fitzgerald some how managed to make an incredible catch.

The 49ers finished the game with 432 yards of total offense compared to just 229 for the Cardinals with 154 of that coming on fourth quarter "garbage" time drives. The Cardinals will come home and regroup ahead of their third-straight road game, this time in St. Louis against the Rams.

Things to watch coming out of this game are the status of starting NT Dan Williams who appeared to suffer a significant injury to his arm or elbow and Early Doucet who could receive a suspension for a punch that the officials on the field didn't see but was caught on camera.

For more on this game, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.

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Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams Suffers Arm Injury In 49ers Game

Arizona Cardinals starting nose tackle Dan Williams was taken off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers with an apparent elbow injury. On the replay it appeared that Williams may have hyper-extended his left arm while trying to make a tackle. Teammate Stewart Bradley hit Williams extended arm with his helmet.

Williams left the field on a cart with his arm in an air-cast after what appeared to be a significant injury.

Williams was a first-round draft pick (26th overall) for the Cardinals in 2010 and has been slowly showing improvement as a space-eating run defender. Williams, according to coach Ken Whisenhunt, came to training camp overweight and out of shape and it wasn't until the season was well underway that he got back to where he needed to be.

Williams played his college ball at the University of Tennessee.

If he misses any time, and it's too soon to say if that will be the case, look for David Carter to step up. Carter, a sixth-round 2011 pick out of UCLA, has played well off the bench and brings more mobility to the position while Williams size is useful in occupying blockers and taking up space in the middle.

According to Ken Whisenhunt in his postgame press conference, Williams suffered a broken arm.

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Cardinals Vs. 49ers Score Update: Arizona Two Turnovers Costly, But Not Deadly

Playing on a muddy field after many hours of rain, the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers got off to a crazy start to their NFC West Division rival game. Before half of the first quarter was over we saw John Skelton throw an interception and the the Calais Campbell block his third field goal (video here) of the season and fifth of his career. 49ers kicker David Akers then missed a 49-yard field goal after picking Skelton.

Skelton, getting his third start in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, looked shaky to say the least. He started the game 0-5 with one interception against the highly regarded Niner defense. 

The Cardinals defense continues to show the improvement we've seen over the past few weeks but did allow 59-yard drive to within a few yards of the end zone.

Arizona was able to hold and force a field goal. That sequence repeated itself again after Beanie Wells fumbled the ball and gave the 49ers possession starting at the Arizona 26. The defense held again and forced a field goal to give the home team a 6-0 lead.

After one quarter of play, Skelton is 1-6 for zero yards with an interception. Beanie Wells has 19 yards on four carries with a fumble, his third on the season. The Cardinals have no first downs and only 15 yards offense. The Niners have 125 yards with 91 of that through the air.

The two turnovers and almost no offense, the Cardinals are lucky to only be down 6-0.

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Kevin Kolb 'Little Ways Away'; John Skelton 'Special' In Fourth Quarter

At this point Kevin Kolb is owned in 33 percent of the fantasy football team at Yahoo! and it's those folks who are probably most concerned about his status to start Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals. Locally, there's a lot of confidence in backup John Skelton even if he owned in just 6% of fantasy teams. Coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed both Thursday after practice.

"(Kolb's) making progress. He's still probably a little ways away from playing but he's going to keep pushing until he can get the range of motion and be able to plant and do the things he needs to do," Whisenhunt said.

That quote there combined with the fact that he's still not practicing with the team is enough to assume with a high degree of confidence that Kolb won't play against the 49ers. It's always possible they are sandbagging to throw off the opponent but that seems unlikely.

The injury is taking longer than Kolb expected to heal but according to Whisenhunt it's one of those things that you can't put a timetable on. The combination of the bone bruise and turf toe together has probably contributed to making it take longer.

As for John Skelton, Whisenhunt said he's still a young quarterback who makes frustrating mistakes but he's also shown something special, "What you like to see out of John is some of those plays in critical situations. He's been very good in the fourth quarter in the last two games when he needed to be. That's something that's a quality in quarterbacks that's special. You get excited about that."

Whisenhunt was asked if Skelton's fourth quarter success was a factor of him dealing well with pressure situations or was a matter of him improving as the game goes on and he gets more comfortable with the opposing defense.

"That's the 64 thousand dollar question," Whisenhunt answered. "You don't know what that quality is. He's obviously comfortable in those situations and he's made plays. Our job is to get him comfortable earlier in the game, not having to wait until the fourth quarter."

Beanie Wells and Todd Heap status

Todd Heap is reportedly frustrated as he fights his way back from the hamstring injury. His status for Sunday isn't known other than a "hope" that he gets better. Rookie TE Rob Housler (groin) did practice Thursday which is a positive sign.

Beanie Wells practiced on Thursday as well after sitting out Wednesday for "maintenance" on his knee. Whisenhunt said the knee experienced swelling after the long flights to and from Philadelphia. Sitting out Wednesday allowed the knee time to recover so he can be ready for Sunday.

"I respect Beanie, because this isn't easy and he's fighting through it. You know that we're going to have to manage it just he'll be able to go on Sunday but he's doing a good job of that," Whisenhunt said.

For more Cardinals talk, visit Revenge of the Birds.

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Kevin Kolb Injury Update: Not Much New To Report From Arizona

Folks looking for some kind of big news on the Kevin Kolb injury front will have to keep on waiting. Kolb didn't fully practice on Wednesday although he did do some "football related activities" for the first time since injuring his right foot in Baltimore three weeks ago. Neither Kolb or his coach would say if he's going to be ready to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Kolb reported that his foot was getting better but is still sore. "It is frustrating, I didn't expect it to take this long," Kolb said. "I'm glad we are on a two-game winning streak during this time."

The Cardinals starting quarterback said he's moving gingerly and cautiously and is trying to get back into the flow of playing football. 

"We have to make sure he can get through all the movements and be able to plant and throw as well as move out of the pocket if he needs to," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

Kolb said that his backup, John Skelton, is playing great and doing a good job quickly bouncing back from mistakes. Skelton agreed when asked to grade his own performance.

Neither Kolb or Skelton had much time for any discussion about a possible controversy at the position. Kevin said the he always expects to compete for his job every week and Skelton said that all that matters is how the team does. Whisenhunt said that to the degree there is a problem, that it's a good problem to have and it's only a question because Skelton has done what's been expected of him.

If you are looking for a guess, I would say that Kolb will be held out of the game. Between Skelton playing well and the slow recovery Kolb seems to be having from a pretty tough injury, that seems to be the direction things are headed. Whisenhunt will almost certainly not make anything official until he absolutely has to on Sunday.

The other injury news is tight ends Todd Heap and Rob Housler. Neither are fully back in action although Whisenhunt once again reported that both are "close".

The Cardinals signed TE Steve Skelton to the practice squad so they would have another "big body" to simulate the 49ers two and three tight end formations. With Heap and Housler not able to practice, they wanted some help in the mean time and S. Skelton did well with the team during training camp.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.

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Larry Fitzgerald (Finally) Wins NFC Offensive Player Of The Week

The Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzergerald wins the NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award. But what's odd about that?

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Cardinals Vs 49ers: Cardinals Defense Leads Team On Winning Streak

The Arizona Cardinals have won two games in a row thanks in large part to the play of their defense. The defense has allowed one touchdown in two games and this past week shut down Philadelphia's offense. Next up for Arizona is a clash with division foe San Francisco

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