This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Candlestick Park.
49ers FS Dashon Goldson vs. QB Brian Hoyer
Tale of the tape
Goldson (38): 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, sixth season, Washington
Hoyer (6): 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, fourth season, Michigan State
Two weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals claimed quarterback Brian Hoyer off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers. After sitting out one game with his new team, Hoyer was called upon and completed 11 of 19 attempts for 105 yards in a 28-13 loss to the Chicago Bears.
The Cardinals placed Kevin Kolb on injured reserve this month with a ribs injury. John Skelton has been bad. Ryan Lindley has been worse. And that's why Hoyer will start against the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park.
"He's a competent guy," 49ers Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson said. "He's moving the ball a lot. We got to approach this game like it's any one of those starters. It's an important game for us. We know we can't allow those receivers to get behind us. They have a solid group of guys."
Goldson, who leads the 49ers with three interceptions, will keep an eye on Hoyer while also preventing Larry Fitzgerald from any big plays.
The 49ers (10-4-1) need a victory Sunday to clinch back-to-back NFC West titles. They also have a chance to earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a victory, along with a Green Bay Packers loss at the Minnesota Vikings.
About the Cardinals' only chance would be if Fitzgerald has a huge day. Cardinals receiver Early Doucet has been ruled out with a concussion.
"Fortunately, we get to play them twice a year, and I've been here for six years," Goldson said. "I've got a chance to play against him (Fitzgerald) a lot. I'm familiar with his game and what kind of player he is."
Due to the Cardinals' lackluster play at quarterback, Fitzgerald is having a down season with just 69 receptions for 785 yards and four touchdowns. And the quarterback entrusted to get him the ball in the season finale is an unknown.
Hoyer spent three seasons behind Tom Brady with the New England Patriots. In 2009, Hoyer completed 19 of 27 passes (70.4 percent) for 142 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. In his four-year career, Hoyer has completed 38 of 62 passes for 391 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.