The Arizona Cardinals could not do anything right against the San Francisco 49ers, as they lost on Monday Night Football 27-6, their sixth consecutive defeat. Brian Westbrook, filling in for Frank Gore, who left the game early with a hip injury, rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown. The San Francisco defense held Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower to only 13 yards on ten carries and Derek Anderson to 196 passing yards, allowing Arizona a total of only eight first downs the entire game.
The game was doomed for the Cardinals from the start. The first play from scrimmage was a 25-yard run by Gore. Upon taking over after Shane Andrus, the 49ers' replacement kicker for injured Joe Nedney, missed a 47-yard field goal attempt, the Cardinals' first offensive play resulted in a fumbled handoff to Beanie Wells. San Francisco scored on the very next play with a 38-yard touchdown strike from Troy Smith to Michael Crabtree, who beat Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the middle.
The Cardinals only managed to look decent on two drives, but once again stalled in the red zone and had to settle with field goals. The offense has now only scored 14 touchdowns in 11 games.
Unfortunately, the defensive side of the ball was no better. San Francisco gashed the Cardinal defense for 261 yards on the ground, and this was without Gore almost the entire game. Brian Westbrook, who had only five carries for the entire season coming into Monday night's game, looked like the 2005 Philadelphia Eagles version of Brian Westbrook, as he ran the ball 23 times.
Special teams had only a glimmer of goodness, but the bad plays pretty much erased it. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie blocked a Shane Andrus field goal attempt, but San Francisco got a hand on one of Ben Graham's punts. LaRod Stephens-Howling had a spectacular return in the second half, but that runback was nullified by a holding penalty that ended up costing Arizona 75 yards.
It was as ugly a game as could have been played. Steve Young said on the broadcast, "I've played some bad football. I've watched bad football. This was worse." After the game, things got worse. During the game, the camera caught Derek Anderson and Deuce Lutui having a moment of smiles. When asked about it in the press conference, Anderson went off Dennis Green style. Check out the clip here.
Ken Whisenhunt used the words "disappointing" and "frustrating" again in his postgame comments for what seems like the 400th week in a row.
The bad news for San Francisco is that early reports are saying that Frank Gore will be out for the season, which is a big blow to a team who has just gotten themselves back into the thick of things in a bad division.
While Arizona sits only two games back of the division-leading Rams and Seahawks, it seems difficult to fathom that anyone could believe that Arizona can turn this season around at this point, even with the seemingly easy schedule that remains.
The truth is that this team is not good. It is talented, but it is just not good. The season was essentially over after the loss at home to Seattle. The next debate for the week will be whether or not the team should start John Skelton or Max Hall to see if they could possibly be the answer. All that is left for the Cardinals to play for is their pride and their job for the 2011 season.