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49ers lose in Arizona, bye in jeopardy

Nick Eason, Darnell Dockett AP

We should no longer assume the 49ers will get a playoff bye.

After Sunday’s 21-19 loss in Arizona, the 49ers shouldn’t consider anything a sure thing.  The 49ers have avoided losses like this all year, but their big weakness as a team showed up in the desert.

The 49ers are just a terrible red zone offense.  They came into the game 31st in the league in touchdown percentage and went 0-for-3 against the Cardinals Sunday.

They dominated the game after knocking Kevin Kolb out, but couldn’t close the deal because they kept blowing opportunities inside the ten-yard line early in the game. John Skelton hasn’t played well, but he’s now 3-1 as a starter and beat the 49ers coming off the bench.

At 6-7, the Cardinals have kept their faint playoff hopes alive.  At 10-3, the 49ers are now tied with the Saints for the No. 2 spot in the NFC.

The 49ers have the tiebreak and would clinch a bye if they won the next three games. But they host the Steelers next week on Monday Night Football.

San Francisco’s offense needs to pick it up a notch with the playoffs approaching, but they appear to be regressing.

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63 Responses to “49ers lose in Arizona, bye in jeopardy”
  1. howley1 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:39 PM

    They lost to the Cardinals? The Cardinals?

  2. jaggedmark says: Dec 11, 2011 7:41 PM

    Don’t want to see the 49ers get a bye.

    Because I want to see a Lions/49ers handshake game rematch first round in the playoffs.

  3. corvusrex96 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:42 PM

    Good now they have more to play for against the steelers next week

  4. steelersownyou says: Dec 11, 2011 7:43 PM

    hahaha. And you think you can beat the steelers? My god this 49ers team is worse than I thought! They don’t deserve to be on the same field as the Steelers!

  5. larryfitzgerald4mvp says: Dec 11, 2011 7:43 PM

    The Cards are legit. They’ve been able to win consistently for 6 games now despite mediocre QB performances. They couldn’t run the ball well, but they still found a way to win.

    Only 6 TDs allowed in their last 6 games. With 3 games left against the Browns, Bengals, and Seahawks, they could very well finish 9-7.

  6. mike5011ad says: Dec 11, 2011 7:43 PM

    Everyone has been saying that Harbaugh is hands down the coach of the year, but with Houston now at 10-3 and still winning without Mario Williams, Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, while starting a 3rd string QB, I think Kubiak may be deserving of the award…

  7. swampymux12 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:43 PM

    San Francisco’s “signature” wins this year are against Detroit, Cincinnati, and NYG. I don’t think they are a team that you worry about playing going into the playoffs.

    Does anybody really have confidence in Alex Smith? They are playoff fodder… not much more.

  8. earthtopft says: Dec 11, 2011 7:45 PM

    Well, that wraps the late afternoon scores, on this 11th day of December, 2011. In the Time Of Tebow.

  9. emmac13 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:45 PM

    Just trying to move up in the draft and get Luck.

  10. n0hopeleft says: Dec 11, 2011 7:47 PM

    The 49ers won’t win a playoff game.

  11. zonedogz says: Dec 11, 2011 7:50 PM

    49er’s losing setting The Handshake II in motion for wild card Sunday!

  12. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Dec 11, 2011 7:50 PM

    Rosenthal, how you feelin’ Tebow now?

  13. neeboy74 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    G-O
    P-A-C-K
    G-O!

  14. 3rivers6rings says: Dec 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    Can’t wait to pound these goofs next week… Make the Harbaugh family envy the black and gold just a little more! CANT WAIT!

  15. stevenbondie says: Dec 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    Funny how fast things change in the NFL, 2 weeks ago, the 49ers looked like serious contenders to beat the Packers, but with the Pack sweeping the Raiders, it’s looking more and more like a Green Bay vs. Denver Superbowl! (;

  16. dfinpds says: Dec 11, 2011 7:52 PM

    And the 49ers fade has commenced……

  17. baldingerspinky says: Dec 11, 2011 7:52 PM

    Makes me feel slightly better about my birds losing to red Skelton

  18. silverbackdk says: Dec 11, 2011 7:52 PM

    Great game. The NFC West is really improving – especially on defense. Cardinals D is for real.

  19. edweird0 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:56 PM

    Can’t wait to pound these goofs next week… Make the Harbaugh family envy the black and gold just a little more! CANT WAIT!

     Lol I can’t imagine anyone from Baltimore envying the steelers this season.

  20. orthodoxdj says: Dec 11, 2011 7:58 PM

    One and done in round one.

  21. zerocool62 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:05 PM

    Alex Smith CAN NOT be resigned first off. and second our Offensive Line needs to be overhauled completely.

  22. nurnay says: Dec 11, 2011 8:07 PM

    They dominated the game? Did you watch the game? They may have dominated the first half, but the Cardinals owned the second half.

  23. norcalmafia says: Dec 11, 2011 8:08 PM

    You cant win without scoring touchdowns..Which means you cant win with that o line….and a qb that is not accurate..Hey at least were better than last year…

  24. steelersownyou says: Dec 11, 2011 8:10 PM

    @edweird0…..In the end the Ravens always envy the Steelers! Season isn’t over yet! Sit back and enjoy the steeler festivities..Thats common knowledge son!

  25. dstep24 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:12 PM

    Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you…

    The REAL San Francisco 49ers.

  26. trey14jewels says: Dec 11, 2011 8:17 PM

    It’s funny because someone tried to tell me the 49ers were the best team in the league (better than the Packers) a couple weeks back. I won’t say any names, but that person should quit pretending they know a thing about football and stick to their day job.

  27. jvibottomline says: Dec 11, 2011 8:18 PM

    Got to get better in the Redzone, simple as that and need Willis back

  28. linkinxr says: Dec 11, 2011 8:21 PM

    49ers were really looking past the cardinals and couldn’t recover. They beat Dallas last week and are improving. This could be worse but still need to handle business at home.

  29. franknunley57 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:26 PM

    “WE have our qb” ….a super bowl qb wins the trap games. The 9ers will beat Pitt Monday nite and all will believe we have our qb again. All but Coach Harbaugh & I.

  30. funkylovemonkey says: Dec 11, 2011 8:32 PM

    Willis out, two major injuries on the offensive line (Synder, Staley), Rogers and Edwards injured…. Still, the 49ers blew a 12 point lead, a lead which should have been much higher… Frustrating loss. Surprisingly the Cardinals have won 5 of their last 6 games.

    Alex Smith is now the most sacked QB in the league, with 4 more added today beating out Roethlisberger.

  31. dubya714 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:39 PM

    As a Ravens fan, i say Go Niners!!!

  32. steelersownyou says: Dec 11, 2011 8:44 PM

    As a Steeler fan I say go chargers!

  33. azbadinals says: Dec 11, 2011 8:47 PM

    The team is finally starting to believe they’re capable of winning without Kurt Warner, Q, Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle…

    I might have to change my username next season if they fix the leaks in the offensive line

  34. cardsfann1 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:51 PM

    Cards gave 4 games away early in the year when they were still trying to figure out their new defensive scheme. They are clicking now. Very easily could run the table and with some help get into the playoffs. Happened before and they went to the Super Bowl. Don’t be so fast to count them out!

  35. franknunley57 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:37 PM

    “Most sacked”…however that does keep his completion % high. Makes him look good if you’re just reading his stats…but not watching the games.

  36. banvard316 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:38 PM

    Pretty sure Skelton is 4-1 now, also I love love love how the Cardinals never win a game on this site lol. Everyone just loses the Cards never win it deserve any credit at all. Nevermind their defense is playing as well as anyone right now.

  37. jimboslice208 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:45 PM

    @dstep, first off, you’re a hater pure and simple.

    Most good teams this year (Packers excluded) have lost to a team, on paper, they were supposed to beat. Saints lost to the Rams and Bucs, Ravens lost to the Jags and Seattle, etc. The Niners lost to the Cardinals who just came off a win against Dallas. The Cardinals aren’t half bad. The Niners need a lot of work. O-line needs to protect better, Smith needs to realize the receivers cant catch the ball with their feet, score when in the redzone, and they need to pick up the blitz better! Im a realist. The Niners are a good team but have A LOT of work to do. For those who say “see, the Niners suck!” are blind to the fact that they were 6-10 last year and are tied for the 2nd best record in the league this year. Not a bad turn around! And there is no such thing as an easy schedule. Any team can beat another any given Sunday!

  38. majorseahawk says: Dec 11, 2011 9:57 PM

    Whiners are going to lose that bye week. They’ll lose to the Steelers, and then they travel to Seattle after that I believe, there’s two more losses.

  39. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 11, 2011 9:59 PM

    After the Cards beat Dallas last week, the 49ers winning the West last week, and the fact that the 49ers had a big Monday Night game next week there was part of me thinking this game had trap potential. Especially considering the 49ers and Cardinals are becoming the heated rivalry of the NFC West.

    Now as much as I hate to do it because I like Drew Brees but I gotta start rooting against New Orleans.

  40. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 11, 2011 10:02 PM

    Also that 49ers O-Line is just not the same when Chilo Rachal is in there over Adam Snyder. People start thinking that QB is a big need after a game like this but the best thing the 49ers can do is let Rachal go, draft or sign a starting right Guard who can run block AND pass block, and let Snyder be the all purpose backup.

  41. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 11, 2011 10:16 PM

    And for the people who think this loss will mean the 49ers will be one and done in the playoffs…..

    2008 Arizona Cardinals were 2-2 in their last 4 games and made it to the super bowl.

    2009 Cardinals were also 2-2 in their last 4 and beat a Packers team expected to win in the Wild Card round.

    The 2010 Seahawks were 1-3 in their final 4 games and beat the Saints who were widely expected to win in the Wild Card round.

  42. jfodagreat says: Dec 11, 2011 10:21 PM

    Teams have pulled up Alex Smith skirt up n exposed this offense…….Im done with this kid 7 years of babysitting is ENOUGH. Hope for the fan’s sake the Yorks dont extend this chump contract n try elsewhere at the QB position next season.

  43. fnslidevick says: Dec 11, 2011 10:26 PM

    One and done!

  44. bmfwest says: Dec 11, 2011 10:29 PM

    Alex Smith proved him self. Now its time to move on. He cannot throw the ball down field, period.

  45. fnslidevick says: Dec 11, 2011 10:31 PM

    Just last week all you niner fans were wanting to sign smith to a long term contract and nw your ready to burn your smith jersey AGAIN haha

  46. cletusvandam says: Dec 11, 2011 10:37 PM

    Maybe, just maybe this is the wake up call we need. Alex Smith is NOT the answer. I’ve seen a ton of people talking about how good he is, how he is having this great year, and how the Niners might sign him to a long term deal. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!
    The Niners have an amazing defense, a great coaching staff and an offensive line that SHOULD dominate, but as long as A Smith is the qb and the WRs are subpar this team will not be really competitive.
    I’m scared that too much success this season will make the Niners complacent in the offseason.

  47. dstep24 says: Dec 11, 2011 10:43 PM

    jimboslice208 says:
    Dec 11, 2011 9:45 PM
    @dstep, first off, you’re a hater pure and simple.

    Most good teams this year (Packers excluded) have lost to a team, on paper, they were supposed to beat. Saints lost to the Rams and Bucs, Ravens lost to the Jags and Seattle, etc. The Niners lost to the Cardinals who just came off a win against Dallas. The Cardinals aren’t half bad. The Niners need a lot of work. O-line needs to protect better, Smith needs to realize the receivers cant catch the ball with their feet, score when in the redzone, and they need to pick up the blitz better! Im a realist. The Niners are a good team but have A LOT of work to do. For those who say “see, the Niners suck!” are blind to the fact that they were 6-10 last year and are tied for the 2nd best record in the league this year. Not a bad turn around! And there is no such thing as an easy schedule. Any team can beat another any given Sunday!

    ____________

    I never said anyone sucks. I said this is the real 49ers. They’re not anywhere close to being in the neighborhood of the Packers.

    They’re a good team. A playoff team. They’ve clinched their division. Kudos to them.

    I’ve just been sitting here reading nonsense all season about how they could take the Packers, when in reality, they’re a good team led by a good defense and a solid running game.

    But, they’re also a team with terrible pass protection, a sub-average QB at best. Not a deep playoff team.

    I know you’re mad, but don’t blame me. This is the real ‘Niners team, and it won’t get any better against Pittsburgh and Seattle coming up.

    Just be glad they made the playoffs. That’s huge progress after averaging a whopping 6.5 wins/season over the last 13 years.

  48. muckhappy says: Dec 11, 2011 10:53 PM

    As a niners fan they looked downright bad today on offense. The game should have been over in the 1st half. Alex had as bad a game as I have seen from him. Overthrowing wide open receivers etc. That being said, they have already exceeded my expectations this year. I still think they have a shot in the playoffs but they really need that bye. Qb is an obvious need, but we’ll see what happens. The defense is still solid and obviously the injuries to willis and company hurt. No excuses though. The cards played a good game today and made the plays when needed. Lot of respect to fitz and cards D. To steelers fans shooting your mouths off, get real. You team is clearly on the decline. U were beaten by the ravens on 2 separate occasions, and looked mediocre against both the chiefs and browns. I look forward to a steel city meltdown in the bay. The tinfoil curtain is a joke and will be out of the playoffs by the time the 4 o’clock games start on wildcard weekend.

  49. bigredjbird says: Dec 11, 2011 10:59 PM

    I love how nobody is giving the cardinals any credit. The game against dallas was a gift – dallas had the chance to stop as in OT to win and they didn’t. 49er offense lost the game because of their red zone efficiency- DID YOU WATCH THE GAME!! Cardinal defense was lights out! Just like its been for the last 6 games!! A Smith was sacked 5 times and was running for his life almost every time he dropped back. Keep dissing and they keep upsetting.

  50. rainponcho87 says: Dec 11, 2011 11:14 PM

    the 49ers are tied with NO by record for the first round bye but currently hold the tiebreaker with a better divisional record.

  51. sixjak says: Dec 11, 2011 11:22 PM

    As a 9ers fan, we are a either a better QB or some better WR’s away from being crazy good. If our passing game kept teams honest then teams would play us differently. Chilo is real bad too.
    You goofy Steeler fans kill me. If SF is such a joke then consider Monday nite your trap game. Your aging team is arrow down.

  52. Canyonero says: Dec 11, 2011 11:37 PM

    The NFC West is as weird as ever, I see

  53. jimboslice208 says: Dec 12, 2011 12:27 AM

    @dstep

    Any realistic 49ers fan doesn’t wanna face the Packers in the playoffs. Us Niner fans have waited 8 years to be relevant again. Cant blame us for being excited. This isnt the first time you have Niner bashed.

    FYI, this is a team that can make noise in the playoff because of their defense. As far as the offense goes, Alex just has to manage a game and the line MUST block for him. He has 4 4th quarter comebacks this year. Not bad for a sub-average at best QB. And by the way, I am not an Alex Smith fan.

    Only Packer fans can brag about having a better record. So regardless if this team does go one and done in the playoffs, its a huge step in the right direction of this franchise; considering so called experts picked them to finish 3rd or 4th in the NFC west. So forgive us for being proud of our team again…

  54. jimboslice208 says: Dec 12, 2011 12:30 AM

    And congrats to Arizona, you guys played great. Suddenly the NFC west isnt looking so bad anymore…

  55. 49erlifer says: Dec 12, 2011 12:32 AM

    zerocool62 says:
    Dec 11, 2011 8:05 PM
    Alex Smith CAN NOT be resigned first off. and second our Offensive Line needs to be overhauled completely.

    Absolutely agree, the niners dont want to admit they blew the first pick in 2005 after this year they will have no more excuses. Its too bad he cant help our defense there pathetic in the redzone all we do is kick field goals and thats not the way to win football games. I took flak before for talking down on alex but as a cal fan i would never of passed on Aaron Rodgers the guy won big games in a major division in a pro style offense and had good numbers unlike Alex who ran the spread had great numbers against mountain west teams. I dont know why Alex was rated so high he doesnt do one thing good.

    Cue the haters.

  56. gosuhgo says: Dec 12, 2011 12:46 AM

    Lions Niners. Lions Niners. Lions Niners. I need that rematch.

  57. dc9er says: Dec 12, 2011 12:52 AM

    Congrats to the cards for the win. They showed a lot of heart.
    The Niners O has now been exposed twice in the last three weeks. The offensive live doesn’t handle blitzes very well. In fact they have been awful in the two loses to the ravens and cards. What I would like for the Niners to do is add more of the screen game to the offensive game plan.
    The screen will help defuse the pass rush. Right now teams don’t worry about the screen games when rushing the Niners. Look at the cards and ravens game. The pass rushers just pin the ears back and get after Smith and never worry about the screen. The screen game should involve RBs, TEs, and WRs. In fact Gore only has 16 receptions this year. The each of the last 5 years Gore had at least 43 receptions. To further stress the screen game. Take a look at the all the prolific offensive units in the game. They all use the screen effectively. The Saints, Patriots, Packers, Lions, Eagles, Colts (when Peyton is healthy).
    If the Niners O can’t figure out how to diffuse the opponent’s pass rush. We (the 49er faithful) should be ready for short playoff run in 2011.
    Mike, take a look at how many screen passes the Niners have ran in the last 3 games. I believe they have only ran 5 screen passes in the last 3 games. The saints run 5 screen passes in a single game.

  58. discosucs2005 says: Dec 12, 2011 2:56 AM

    Ha! That first year head coach who clinched his division with four games left finally lost a game to a team that wasn’t in first place! That proves the 49ers suck! And if they don’t win the Super Bowl, it will prove how bad they are even more. Basically no matter what the 49ers do, until they win a Super Bowl, they are a weak team who isn’t a real contender.

    By the way, if you bad mouth Alex Smith, you better not think Tim Tebow has any shred of talent.

  59. funkylovemonkey says: Dec 12, 2011 7:55 AM

    franknunley57 says:
    Dec 11, 2011 9:37 PM
    “Most sacked”…however that does keep his completion % high. Makes him look good if you’re just reading his stats…but not watching the games.

    ——————————–

    I’m sorry, did you just insinuate that pressure on a QB makes his stats better? That’s just… I don’t know where to begin. I guess all those defensive coordinators who use pressure to try to force errors are completely wrong.

    Just goes to show that just because you watch the games doesn’t mean you understand what’s going on.

  60. TheDPR says: Dec 12, 2011 9:01 AM

    The thing being overlooked is that the 49ers OL played horribly. The pass and run game both suffer when the OL plays like they did.

    Also, Smith needs to pull the trigger a little quicker.

    And why aren’t they using Vernon Davis?

  61. westclaims says: Dec 12, 2011 9:26 AM

    First the Cowboys, then the 49er’s….this is getting to be too fun.

    The Cards are legit. If not, then a bad team just beat the Cowboys and the Niners. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways.

  62. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 12, 2011 9:27 AM

    @dc9er

    I wouldn’t call the Baltimore game the 49ers offense being “Exposed” because that defense makes a lot of offenses look inept.

    I think this was mostly a fired up Cardinals team off a high from a big win the week before against a contender who was now hosting a team they absolutely despise. 49ers had just wrapped up the division the week before. It was a trap game that the football world didn’t think would be a trap game.

    Also other 49ers fans are ripping Alex a week after saying re-upping him is a good idea? What is this Cardinals D leads them to a wild card berth? They have the Browns and Seahawks at home and the Bengals on the road. So it’s not difficult to fathom they could win out and be 9-7. They are two games behind both teams who are trying for the wild card spots and 1 game behind the team after them who they had beaten a week ago. I mean the Cards know they have a shot at making it if they win out and Wisenhunt is too good a coach to not let them know that every step of the way.

  63. dirtyjersey9er says: Dec 12, 2011 9:29 AM

    Also if Josh Morgan wasn’t hurt in junk time the 49ers redzone offense and 3rd down offense would be much better. He was that reliable receiver in the slant that Alex loved throwing to.

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