A one-loss Arizona Cardinals team without star quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins entered their Week 9 contest as 5.5-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers, but those key absences were hardly a deterrent. The Cardinals handily took care of business by a score of 31-17 with Colt McCoy at the helm, moving to 8-1 on the 2021 NFL season.
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Colt McCoy more than did his job while filling in for MVP contender Kyler Murray, who sat out Week 9 with an ankle injury. The veteran went 22-of-26 and made one big-time throw. And perhaps more importantly, he stayed clean in the turnover-worthy play department. McCoy earned a 90.0-plus overall grade on first review.
Chase Edmonds managed just one snap before exiting with an ankle injury. And the James Conner show subsequently commenced. Conner tallied 92 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while forcing four missed tackles. He added five receptions for 77 yards and a score, forcing another four missed tackles on those plays.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
The Cardinals ruled out DeAndre Hopkins before the game, leaving the bulk of the receiving work to Christian Kirk — outside of Conner. Four of Kirk's six catches went for first downs, although his average depth of target was just nine yards. Rookie Rondale Moore hauled in five catches for 24 yards. He racked up 30 yards after the catch while often being targeted behind the line of scrimmage.
Arizona's offensive line gave McCoy plenty of clean pockets in Week 9. The unit allowed just five pressures — none of which were sacks or hits. The 49ers' lone sack on the day was the fault of tight end Darrell Daniels.
Markus Golden and Chandler Jones tallied four pressures apiece — three of which were sacks for Golden. The defensive line made just three run stops, but the 49ers were forced to abandon the ground game early after falling behind 31-7.
No Arizona defender was targeted more in coverage than linebacker Isaiah Simmons. He gave up six catches on seven targets for 88 yards. Jordan Hicks was also victimized, allowing five catches on five targets for a touchdown.
Although Budda Baker snagged a late interception, he missed two tackles en route to a 60.2 overall grade on first review. Byron Murphy Jr. is set to pace with the group with an 84.5 coverage grade after initial review of the broadcast film.
Jimmy Garoppolo is on track to earn a 75.0-plus grade, but much of his production came with the game already out of reach. He made one big-time throw and one turnover-worthy play. However, he went just 1-of-6 on throws targeted 20-plus yards downfield.
San Francisco's ground game came to a screeching halt as the Cardinals piled on the points. JaMycal Hasty and Elijah Mitchell combined for 38 yards, one forced missed tackle and two first downs on nine carries. Mitchell also caught all five of his targets and forced three missed tackles on those receptions.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
George Kittle put together a vintage performance, crossing the 100-yard mark and finding the end zone for the 49ers' first score en route to an 85.0-plus receiving grade on first review.
Deebo Samuel was again an after-the-catch threat. Forty-seven of his 63 yards came with the ball already in his hands. Brandon Aiyuk added a score and 89 yards through the air, and he caught both of his contested targets.
It was an abysmal day for San Francisco's pass-blocking unit. Mike McGlinchey suffered a knee injury that sidelined him, and replacement Tom Compton gave up five pressures — two sacks, one hit and two hurries — on just 33 pass-blocking snaps. The unit as a whole allowed 18 pressures and six sacks.
Nick Bosa earned an 89.3 PFF grade on first review after tallying four quarterback pressures, three run stops and a forced fumble. Arik Armstead recorded four pressures himself, while Arden Key added three on just 10 pass-rushing snaps.
No San Francisco cornerback allowed more than 30 yards into their coverage, but McCoy also went 10-for-10 when targeting that unit. Safeties Talanoa Hufanga and Tavon Wilson combined to surrender 98 yards in coverage.