49ers improve to 8-0 after spooking Cardinals on Halloween
The San Francisco 49ers preserved their perfect NFL record with a 28-25 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.
San Francisco spooked Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium on Halloween to stay undefeated and improve to 8-0.
The 49ers remain the only perfect team in the NFC and are just one of two sides in the NFL alongside Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots yet to lose a game.
San Francisco continued to utilise a defense that at times was exposed by the Cardinals' attack, but ultimately the visitors came away with the victory.
Three takeaways from the 49ers' road win over the Cardinals
Jimmy G? Joe Montana?
Jimmy Garoppolo seems to be the winner the 49ers have been looking for. He has led the team to their first undefeated 8-0 start since the legend Joe Montana did it in 1990.
Garoppolo continues to impress despite San Francisco's relatively easy schedule.
He finished 28-of-37 passing for 317 yards with four touchdowns, including a pass to Dante Pettis – who had a thrilling celebration. He threw zero interceptions.
Garoppolo might be light years away from Montana, but Garoppolo is winning — and winning big.
49ers defense held strong
It was not always pretty.
The Cardinals were able to find the few weak spots in the 49ers defense, but the unit — who have been the driving force in the team's season — done enough early on to keep Arizona trailing.
Kyler Murray was sacked three times for a loss of 37 yards and the Cardinals were held scoreless in the second quarter. Despite San Francisco coming out of the half a little lacklustre as Murray led two touchdown drives and set up a 36-yard field goal, the Niners continued to be efficient in stopping third-down conversions. Arizona finished two of eight when trying to convert.
Arizona needed a balanced attack
What helped the Cardinals win three consecutive games was a balanced offense. Behind the arm of Murray and the running attack from both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds, Arizona looked decent — some would say good — as they came back from the horrible start.
However, just as things were looking up both Johnson (back) and Edmonds (hamstring) were ruled out with injury. It has greatly affected the offense. In the Cardinals' 31-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints last week, they totalled 40 rushing yards — compared to the 220 passing yards. If Arizona wanted to have a chance against San Francisco, the Cardinals needed a balanced attack and a big game from a new trio of running backs in Zach Zenner, Alfred Morris and Kenyan Drake.
Drake set the stage early. He was traded to the Cardinals on Monday and seemed to fit right in with an early 36-yard carry.
Drake continued to lead the rush and recorded 110 yards for the night.
All-in-all, the Cardinals ran for 153 yards, compared to their 204 passing yards.
Murray finished 17-of-24 passing for 241 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.