Santa Clara, CA – Well if there’s any indication on just how brutal these games can be, the 49ers painted a perfect picture in Sunday’s loss. C.J. Beathard was hit 16 times and scored the only touchdown. In the final minutes both teams were involved in a skirmish that led to three ejections.
The Arizona Cardinals 20-10 victory over the 49ers ended in a full out brawl late in the fourth. Former 49ers player and current Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea made a late hit on Beathard. That set off a chain reaction of shoves and pushes for minutes. When the melee ended, three players got tossed.
“It stinks that he got ejected but it shows he’s got my back,” said Beathard. “I really appreciate that and so does all the other guys that went at them as well.”
Beathard scrambled for 10 yards before sliding to end the play, Bethea made a late hit on the quarterback drawing a flag for unnecessary roughness. That led to 49ers players rushing over to Beathard and Carlos Hyde was one of them. Hyde and Cardinals defensive lineman Frostee Rucker got into it and had to be separated.
“Naw, we were playing football,” Bethea said when asked if his hit was intentional. “He was coming to me, he was running to me, I gotta protect myself, he slid late and I toppled him, the rest is history.”
The melee didn’t last long and followed with Hyde, Rucker and Arizona linebacker Hasson Reddick getting tossed from the game. Bethea’s was hit with a 15 yard penalty. Beathard got back on his feet and found Matt Brieda for 14 and 11 yards putting the 49ers in the red zone. But Beathard’s pass intended for Garrett Celek was tipped.
“That was perfect timing, he threw it right of his offensive lineman’s helmet,” said Karlos Dansby. “It flipped in the air I said to myself, ‘Man, it can’t be that easy to get 20.’ It is perfect, it is perfect timing, a perfect scenario, the stage was set. God is good, that is all I can say.”
Dansby was at the right place at the right time. He recorded his 20th interception, joining only a select few NFL players who have at least 40 sacks and 20 interceptions. Dansby intercepted the ball after Beathard’s pass bounced off WR Trent Taylor’s helmet. That play ended all hope for any comeback for the 49ers.
“I was throwing, I hit somebodies helmet with my thumb, that was the most painful thing, said Beathard.
But when asked if that play was the one where he hit the guys helmet, Beathard responded ‘No, that’s not the one. I’m talking about a different one now’.
I was just trying to get it in the ground. Just throw it away.”
Beathard finished 24-of-51 for 294 yards with a touchdown and interception. The rookie was sacked five times, hit 16 and knocked around like a rag doll by the Cardinals defense. Yet, he got up after each play proving his toughness in this league. However, the 49ers continue to rebuild while Arizona is looking to improve their standings in the NFC West.
No quarterback dilemma with the Cardinals, Drew Stanton recorded two touchdowns in the first half. Stanton found Jaron Brown for a 3-yard touchdown in the first and connected with Jermaine Gresham for an 11-yard touchdown in the second. Phil Dawson kicked two field goals in the second half for 25 and 32 yards.
“Once again we didn’t get enough turnovers to give our offense enough opportunities with the ball,” said safety Eric Reid. “We got a couple but we needed another one.”
Reid’s interception in the end zone stalled another opportunity for the Cardinals. Stanton’s pass intended for Gresham was interrupted when Reid took flight grabbing the ball out of Gresham’s hands giving the 49ers little hope before the period ended.
Beathard did his best to help the offense, he rushed into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown but Arizona challenged the ruling on the pay and after further review the call was reversed due to breaking the plane. After another attempt Beathard rushed into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown making it a 14-10 game.
Arizona didn’t allow much wiggle room for the 49ers offense and at this rate it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. The injuries this season have taken a toll, the 49ers lost more players, safety Jaquiski Tartt to a broken arm, WR Trent Taylor (rib) and LB Elijah Lee (knee).
The 49ers have the worst start in franchise history losing 23 of their last 24 games overall. Next week, they host the New Your Giants who lost to the Los Angeles Rams 51-17.