The 49ers – once again – came close to winning their first game of the season.
After coming close against the Seahawks and Rams the past two weeks, San Francisco battled the Cardinals in Arizona tough, forcing them to overtime with the score tied 12-12.
The 49ers even took a 15-12 lead over the Cardinals in OT when Robbie Gould made his fifth field goal of the game from 23 yards out.
But when the Cardinals got the ball back with 2:25 left in the extra period at their own 25-yard line, they quickly went to work, marching for a touchdown in seven plays, capped by Carson Palmer’s 19-yard pass to veteran Larry Fitzgerald, to walk away with an 18-15 victory.
The 49ers offense kept stalling, with quarterback Brian Hoyer unable to drive the team for touchdowns instead of field goals. He completed the day 24-of-49 passing for 234 yards with one costly interception. Carlos Hyde led the running game with 68 yards on 16 carries.
San Francisco’s defense, meanwhile, showed much more life. The Niners sacked Palmer six times, with veteran Elvis Dumervil getting two and No. 1 pick Solomon Thomas the first of his NFL career. San Francisco also held the Cards to just 51 yards rushing.
Still, the defense couldn’t hold on late, with a victory for the taking.
After the 49ers had to settle for Gould’s field goal to take the 15-12 lead – unable to convert on third-and goal from the 5 when Hoyer’s pass fell incomplete – Palmer went to work. He twice completed 11-yard passes to Andre Ellington to start the drive, then connected with Jaron Brown for 17 yards, and again to Brown for 11 to the 49ers’ 25. Three plays later, 49ers safety Jimmie Ward was called for pass interference, giving Arizona a first down on the 27. Palmer then passed to Ellington for 8 yards to set up his game-winning throw to Fitzgerald.
Just before the game, the 49ers gathered for the national anthem as a team, with 30 players kneeling with their hands over their hearts, and the rest of the team standing behnd them, also with their hands over their hearts. The players were kneeling to protest what they believe is unfair treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement in the U.S., even in the face of recent criticism by President Donald Trump, who said all NFL players who kneel for the anthem should be "fired."
The 49ers, now 0-4 under new head coach Kyle Shanahan, will travel to Indianapolis next Sunday to take on the Colts.