The 49ers left Arizona with a 23-20 win from a 41-yard field goal by Phil Dawson on the final play. Despite getting the result, there are still problems moving forward.
San Francisco blew a 17-0 lead when facing a very sketchy Arizona Cardinals offense. The offense had seven scoreless possessions before Phil Dawson made field goals from 56 and 41 yards at the end. On defense the 49ers became laid back on two drives where Arizona was able to score touchdowns. San Francisco caught a major break when Jay Feely missed two field goals that could have been made. Carson Palmer also threw for 400 passing yards in this game.
Frank Gore was only 44 rushing yards away from 10,000 rushing yards, but the Cardinals defense stood firm to prevent any big plays from him. Greg Roman countered with running plays to Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter, where giving the ball to the former backfired. This was a lackluster effort on offense where the Cardinals kept the 49ers punting or out of the end zone after having trouble in a 17-0 start.
San Francisco will need to improve quickly and play a 60-minute game, because Green Bay is healthy and ready to go in the wild card round. They should be improved, but they can't take their foots off the gas pedal like they did today.
It took a big play to Quinton Patton getting the 49ers in field goal range and win the game. The defense prevented Arizona from scoring more points and NaVorro Bowman's early interception was a difference maker in the end.
Tarell Brown sounded optimistic saying it tells the character of the team in finishing the game. This time, they escaped against an offensively inept team where the defense carried them. No pressure Colin Kaepernick. No pressure Jim Harbaugh. Adjustments will be important for the wildcard round against Green Bay.
"It tests the character of the team to play like this," Brown said. "If you play this well in a close game, you're ready for the playoffs."