This is the live blog of the San Francisco 49ers (5-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (4-6) Week 11 game from the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. I will be providing Tool Shed updates and analysis throughout the game.
4:10 Inactive for the 49ers: Ty Davis-Price, Nick Zakelj, Kemoko Turay, Arik Armstead, Samson Ebukam, Curtis Robinson.
Inactive for the Cardinals: Kyler Murray, Zach Ertz, DJ Humphries, Max Garcia, Jessie Luketa, Victor Dimukeje, Byron Murphy
4:50 Not having Zach Ertz is a blow for the Cardinals offense. The 49ers have done a good job of shutting down opponents who have only one gun to fear.
DeAndre Hopkins is to the Arizona Cardinals what Cooper Kupp is to the Los Angeles Rams.
Hopkins is going to play tonight. The key for San Francisco is to stop Hopkins from following them. If they can do that, the defense will keep Arizona under 20 points.
4:55 While not the most exciting topic to discuss, turnovers will play a major role in the outcome of this game.
San Francisco is 16-3 since the start of 2021 when they win or tie the turnover battle. They drop to 1-9 when giving more turnovers than their opponents.
Arizona arrives tonight having lost the turnover battle just once this season. In their first ten games, the Cardinals are +5.
If Jimmy Garoppolo stays true to his form, the veteran quarterback will throw at least one interception tonight. Can the 49ers get a takeout or two to make up for that? Something to watch for as tonight’s game unfolds.
5:05 Look for Kyle Shanahan to try to implicate George Kittle early. For the second time this season, there have been questions about the lack of goals for the tight end this week. The first two targets against Kansas City went to Kittle after the first week when Kittle’s use was questioned.
5:18 The 49ers defense takes the field first and forces a quick three and one out. Deommodore Lenoir dropped Rondale Moore for a loss of six on first down, then the pass rush forced a Colt McCoy incomplete on third down.
The 49ers take over when they turn 37.
5:21 The Arizona defense forces a quick three up and out of their own. After a two-yard gain by Christian McCaffrey on first down, Garoppolo pitches incomplete on second and third downs.
The third down throw was a deep shot to Jauan Jennings on the left sideline. The receiver appeared to have a step on the defender, but his feet got tied up and Jennings fell.
San Francisco appeared to pin the Cardinals on the one-yard line, but Tarvarius Moore slipped and touched the goal line before he could get the ball out of his hands.
The cardinals take over when they turn 20.
5:27 DeAndre Hopkins with a pair of 17-yard catches. The big receiver finds holes in the 49ers’ zone defense.
The first came after he lined up in the slot. This is where Jimmie Ward lined up as the slot cornerback hurst the 49ers. This limits the covers they can play.
5:31 Dr. Greenlaw and Charvarius Ward are both injured after a deep incompleteness from Colt McCoy.
On the third down, Deommodore Lenoir is isolated with DeAndre Hopkins and his strong coverage forces an incompleteness.
Arizona is content with a 40-yard field goal from Matt Prater to take the lead.
49ers 0 Cardinals 3
5:39 Deebo Samuel’s disappointing season continues.
After a pair of Garoppolo finishes to Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Shanahan dials in a late round for Samuel at third-and-second. Arizona is ready for it and pushes Samuel out of bounds for a loss of two.
Arizona will take over at their four.
The thin air in Mexico City will make it difficult to position yourself on the pitch. Unless there is a turnover, both teams will be backed to start practices similar to what we saw in Denver in Week 3.
5:47 Supported, Arizona does not try to pass the ball to Hopkins on this possession. Instead, the Cardinals are turning to run and screen play. They land a first down, but San Francisco holds to force a punt.
The 49ers are doing a good job of eliminating the underhand passing game so far.
5:52 There’s the Deebo Samuel that the 49ers saw play after play last year.
Samuel takes a short pass through the middle of Garoppolo and turns it into a 19 win on the last play of the first quarter.
Garoppolo opened up possession with a four-yard completion to Samuel.
The 49ers offense is on pace after a slow start.
5:58 Jimmy Garoppolo with a terrific play, hitting Brandon Aiyuk from seven yards out to give the 49ers the lead.
Garoppolo looked to the right side before turning back to his left and finding Aiyuk at an angle.
A 20-yard burst from Christian McCaffrey on a throw down the left side sent San Francisco into the red zone.
49ers 7 Cardinals 3
6:02 Kevin Givens was very good in base defense, entering the backfield several times.
6:07 Jimmie Ward offers his first interception of the season.
McCoy tried to check on James Connor, the running back couldn’t hold the ball and Ward on the spot to go down with the takeaways.
I’ve been pretty hard on Ward this season. It’s good to see him play a big game.
6:10 Field position is going to be a premium tonight. The 49ers offense needs to take advantage here.
6:13 Jimmy Garoppolo with a terrific second play reaction, dodges the pressure and finds George Kittle in the middle for a 39-yard touchdown.
Garoppolo has made big plays on the move each of the past two weeks.
49ers 14 Cardinals 3
6:22 Arizona responds with a nine-play, 75-yard drive ending when James Connor pushes the stack into the end zone from four yards.
Greg Dortch made a quick throw down the left side for a 47-point gain to put Arizona in the red zone.
Colt McCoy cuts through the 49ers’ zone defense in the first half. He completed 16 of 22 attempts for 165 yards.
6:30 Christian McCaffrey’s explosiveness lifted the 49ers’ offense.
San Francisco moves the chains on their first three plays of this possession with McCaffrey counting for two of them taking short catches for wins of 12 and 14.
6:38 After getting to Arizona 21, Jimmy Garoppolo throws incomplete on a go road to Jauan Jennings and down to Deebo Samuel for another incomplete.
Robbie Gould strikes from 39 yards.
49ers 17 Cardinals 10
6:42 Nick Bosa now has 10.5 sacks in just nine games.
The 49ers lead 17-10 at halftime, but it looks like it should be more.
6:46 Jimmy Garoppolo is 14-21, 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
Target distribution in the first half: Samuel 7 Kittle 5 McCaffrey 5 Aiyuk 2 Jennings 2
Charvarius Ward leads the 49ers with seven tackles. Most of them came after DeAndre Hopkins catches. Hopkins had seven catches on eight targets for 77 yards.
Arizona made 39 offensive plays to San Francisco’s only 29 in the first half. Expect that number to turn around in the second half, with the 49ers getting the ball first.
7:07 It’s like old 49ers football. They keep coming at the opposing defense in waves.
McCaffrey makes plays all over the court. They bring in Elijah Mitchell and he goes for 10. Then they give it to Deebo Samuel on one inning and he takes it 39 yards for a touchdown.
Seven points for 71 yards on that touchdown.
49ers 24 Cardinals 10
7:17 The 49ers defense forces an incompleteness on a third pass to Hopkins, only the second unfinished to him tonight. McCoy throws inaccurately to Greg Dortch at fourth and third.
San Francisco will take over at their 41. Another score and this one is over.
7:25 Rookie right guard Spencer Burford is called for holding the first down, wiping out a short completion from Deebo Samuel. Garoppolo can’t get the offense out of the hole and it’s a quick punt for the 49ers offense.
The 49ers lead 24-10.
7:28 Kevin Givens stuffed the run tonight and comes with a sack on McCoy for a loss of nine on second down. He has a hell of a game.
7:38 If you’re old enough to have watched tonight’s Super Bowl-winning 49ers game, this sounds familiar.
San Francisco runs and smashes their way through the Arizona defense.
Elijah Mitchell slashes the Cardinals for 27 yards in the first three plays. Then Jimmy Garoppolo throws full to Christian McCaffrey for 12 yards before connecting with Brandon Aiyuk at 13 yards for another 49ers touchdown.
49ers 31 Cardinals 10
7:45 Fred Warner gets a sack from Colt McCoy, but it was set up by a blitz from Talanoa Hufanga.
7:46 Arizona goes for the fourth and fourth. Dr. Greenlaw gets her hands on the McCoy pass to force incompleteness.
The 49ers offense was the focus tonight, but the defense is also playing the lights. Arizona has 48 yards in the second half.
7:55 Teams aren’t supposed to be this explosive on 22 people. Garoppolo hits George Kittle in play action to the left flat and the tight end runs through the Cardinals defense for a 32-yard touchdown reception.
It’s Garoppolo’s fourth touchdown pass of the night.