49ers can't hold off Cardinals in 21-19 loss


49ers can't hold off Cardinals in 21-19 loss


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 49ers were playing to maintain their advantage in the race to be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffsThe Arizona Cardinals were trying to hold onto their faint playoff hopes.The Cardinals helped their cause with a 21-19 victory Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, and gave the 49ers their first true shot of adversity with three games remaining in the regular season.The 49ers (10-3) have the same record as the New Orleans Saints behind the unbeaten Green Bay Packers. But the 49ers still hold the advantage for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs based on their better conference record. The Cardinals (6-7) remain alive in the NFC playoff hunt.It was a football fight out there, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. I thought we were in position to win this football game really at times during the game. We didnt get it done and we are disappointed about that. We look forward to seeing how our teams responds to some adversity. We havent had a lot of it this year.--Cardinals starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was knocked from the game with a head injury in the first quarter, and backup John Skelton played the rest of the way. Three weeks ago, Skelton started against the 49ers and struggled immensely. He completed 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards and three interceptions before getting benched.Skelton got it going against the 49ers this time with a lot of help from Larry Fitzgerald, who caught seven passes for 149 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown. Skelton figured out the 49ers defense, as he completed 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards with three TDs and two interceptions.--Safety Donte Whitner said the 49ers secondary took full responsibility for the loss. But the 49ers offense was atrocious in the second half after Frank Gore had a 37-yard touchdown run on the teams first play of the third quarter.The 49ers only first down in their final six possessions came on a Cardinals personal foul penalty. The 49ers were 3 of 17 (18 percent) on third downs. Three times the 49ers got inside the Cardinals 10-yard line, and three times they settled for field goals.--The 49ers' pass defense got interceptions from safety Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown, but they also gave up the big play. The Cardinals got on the board on Early Doucet's 60-yard TD reception in the second quarter.--The game's momentum swung on a three-play sequence in the second quarter. After a Kyle Williams 11-yard reception on third down left the 49ers short of the first down, the 49ers sent out their field-goal unit.The 49ers called for a fake field goal, instead of a 50-yard attempt. Holder Andy Lee hit center Jonathan Goodwin (who lines up as a wing on field-goal attempts) on a long pass and a possible touchdown.But Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt threw the challenge flag and referee Alberto Riveron ruled that the challenge was issued before the snap of the ball. Harbaugh said he was watching from the other sideline, and he disputed the ruling.Riveron went to view the Williams play to see if he got both feet in-bounds. But the replay machine malfunctioned, so the play was never reviewed.Kicker David Akers, who made four field goals in the game, then missed from 50 yards. And on the next play, Skelton hit Doucet for the touchdown.--Left tackle Joe Staley sustained a head injury in the first quarter and did not return. Alex Boone stepped in and played well. Staley must be cleared by an independent neurologist before he is allowed to return to practice.--Linebacker Patrick Willis (hamstring) missed his second career start. It is uncertain whether Willis will be available for the 49ers' next game, Monday, Dec. 19, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow


Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow

SANTA CLARA – Defensive lineman Quinton Dial was held out of practice Wednesday due to an elbow that places his availability in question for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New York Jets.

Dial returned to action on Sunday against the Chicago Bears after missing the previous game with neck and knee issues. Newly acquired defensive lineman Chris Jones started the past two games in place of Dial.

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch continues to be hobbled with a high-ankle sprain. He has missed the past five games with the injury. Lynch took part in limited practice on Wednesday

Did not practice
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
RB Shaun Draughn (ribs)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
Full participation
DT Ronald Blair (hamstring)
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring)

Did not practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
LB Julian Stanford (ankle)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)
DE Leonard Williams (illness)
RB Matt Forte (knee, foot)
S Calvin Pryor (concussion)
Full participation
WR Brandon Marshall (knee, foot)
CB Nick Marshall (ankle)
CB Marcus Williams (ankle)

Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers


Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Brandon Marshall supplied 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward with the first learning experience of his NFL career early in his rookie season.

Ward has a vivid memory of the game – just his second in the NFL – and the three touchdowns passes Marshall caught on him to lead the Chicago Bears to a 28-20 victory over the 49ers in the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium.

But Marshall, now a member of the New York Jets, admitted Wednesday to having a fuzzy recollection of that game due to painkillers he was prescribed in order to play in the game. Marshall, an 11-year NFL veteran, was in his third and final season with the Bears.

“Well, I don’t really remember much about that game because, uh, I worked really hard to get back from a high-ankle (sprain) . . . I don’t want to go there,” Marshall said, beginning to laugh on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain. I really wasn’t supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle, you know, within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four-to-six weeks. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

Marshall was listed as questionable for the game. On the day of the game, ESPN reported, citing a source, that there was a "75 percent" chance neither Marshall nor Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) would play. Both receivers played in the game.

Marshall had five receptions for 48 yards with touchdown catches of 17, 5 and 3 yards while being matched in the slot against Ward, the 49ers’ first-round pick in that year’s draft. That game served as a study guide for Ward.

“Yeah, I watched it a lot,” Ward said. “It was my welcome-to-the-NFL game. Just looking forward to going against Brandon Marshall for the second time in my career.”

Ward will undoubtedly see plenty of Marshall on Sunday when the 49ers face the Jets on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. Marshall may not remember much from facing Ward two seasons ago, but he said he has been impressed with what he sees on film.

“I think he’s really tough,” Marshall said. “He’s tough and he’s crafty and savvy. This is a guy that seems to really study the game and understands his opponent. If you go out there and give him the same release two or three times in a row, nine times out of 10, he’s going to get the best of you. We have to do a better job than him this week of studying film and trying to outwork him mentally.”

Marshall’s revelation that his memory of the 2014 game against the 49ers is clouded due to the use of painkillers comes at a time when Warriors coach Steve Kerr last week said on the Warriors Insider Podcast that he tried marijuana in hopes it would provide relief during the back issues that forced him to take a leave of absence of nearly four months.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

When asked for his stance on whether the NFL should reconsider its position to include marijuana as a banned substance, Marshall received some direction from a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall answered the question, saying that he wants to learn more about the subject.

“I do not have a stance on that," Marshall said. "That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time. I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us -- positives and negatives.”