MEXICO CITY -- This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers' Week 11 Monday night road game against the Arizona Cardinals. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.
2:55 The 49ers SHOULD blow out Arizona. The Cardinals are a deeply flawed team with no running game and no starting quarterback -- Kyler Murray is out with a hamstring injury. And they didn't go anywhere this week to prepare for the altitude of Mexico City. Meanwhile, the 49ers flew to Colorado Springs this past Tuesday and practiced in the snow just to acclimate to the elevation.
The 49ers are more talented and should be more prepared than the Cardinals, but there's something off with this 49ers team. They've been consistently worse than the sum of their parts all season, particularly on offense. And this trip to Colorado might have drained the players of all their energy. The last time they practiced away from their facility, they went on to lose back to back games by double digits, and their defense looked particularly out of gas.
Will the defense fall apart tonight? It will have to chase screen passes all night, but it won't have a serious run game to defend, so it should perform well.
The question is the 49ers offense. Will it finally find a way to score more than its season average of 22 points? I think it will exceed that total -- barely. And I think the 49ers will win another close game against a bad opponent and leave their fans unsure of how to feel.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: 49ers 23, Cardinals 17.
3:53 Here are the 49ers' inactives: DL Arik Armstead, OL Nick Zakelj, LB Curtis Robinson, DE Samson Ebukam, DE Kemoko Turay, RB Tyrion Davis-Price.
5:12 The 49ers win the toss and defer. The Cardinals will receive the opening kickoff.
5:18 First play of the game, the Cardinals hand off to wide receiver Rondale Moore running a jet sweep, and he gets tackled for a 6-yard loss by Deommodore Lenoir. That sets the tone. Then the Cardinals go 3 and out. After the punt, the 49ers take over at their 37.
5:21 On 3rd and 8 from the 49ers 39, Garoppolo throws a deep pass to Jauan Jennings who trips during the route, and the pass is incomplete. The 49ers go 3 and out and punt the ball into the Cardinals end zone. It's pouring right now by the way.
5:30 Both Charvarius Ward and Dre Greenlaw suffer injuries on the same play. Greenlaw jogs off the field and Ward walks off.
5:31 On 3rd and 6 from the 49ers 22, Colt McCoy throws an incomplete deep pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins, who was covered well by Lenoir. Next play, the Cardinals make a 40-yard field goal. Arizona went no-huddle uptempo on that drive and had success. That could tire out the 49ers defense.
49ers 0, Cardinals 3.
5:38 On 3rd and 2 from the 49ers 44, Deebo Samuel runs a sweep to the right and loses one yard. George Kittle also commits a holding penalty but the Cardinals decline it, then the 49ers punt and pin Arizona at the 4-yard line.
5:41 Charvarius Ward and Greenlaw are back in the game.
5:45 On 3rd and 3 from the Cardinals 23, McCoy throws a checkdown pass off his back foot to his running back who gets drilled immediately by Greenlaw, and the pass in incomplete. The Cardinals go 3 and out. After the punt, the 49ers take over at their 18.
5:48 The rain stopped.
5:57 On 2nd and 5 from the Cardinals 7, Garoppolo throws a touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk, who runs a beautiful route. That was his first target of the game.
49ers 7, Cardinals 3.
6:00 It's raining again.
6:06 On 2nd and 11 from the Cardinals 44, McCoy throws a high check down pass that gets tipped and then intercepted by Jimmie Ward at the Arizona 46.
6:12 On 3rd and 3 from the Cardinals 39, Jimmie Garoppolo steps up in the pocket and throws down the field to a wide open George Kittle, who runs into the end zone for the touchdown. Beautiful ad-lib play by Garoppolo. He made that touchdown happen.
49ers 14, Cardinals 3.
6:22 On 1st and goal from the 2, James Conner powers straight ahead for the touchdown. That drive happened because the 49ers gave up a 47-yard catch to Greg Dortch on 3rd and 6. Nick Bosa jumped offside, and the defense seemed to let down, because Dortch caught a quick pass out of the backfield and made both Fred Warner and Tashaun Gipson whiff in the open field.
49ers 14, Cardinals 10.
6:38 On 3rd and 6 from the Cardinals 21, Garoppolo has a great pocket, but still throws a covered Deebo Samuel and the pass is broken up. I would have liked to see Garoppolo step up in the pocket and extend the play like he did last drive. Robbie Gould makes a 39-yard field goal, and the Cardinals have 43 seconds and one timeout to do something.
49ers 17, Cardinals 10.
6:41 On 1st and 10 from the Cardinals 36, McCoy spins around in the pocket and runs right into Nick Bosa, who sacks him. That ends the first half. The 49ers will get the ball to start the second half.
7:07 On 1st and 10 from the Cardinals 39, Garoppolo flips to Deebo Samuel running an end around and he scores. The Cardinals didn't look like the wanted to touch him. What an explosive run.
49ers 24, Cardinals 10.
7:17 On 4th and 3 from the 49ers 41, McCoy throws behind his intended receiver and the Cardinals turn the ball over on downs. They're just completely outclassed and the 49ers are making them quit. Jimmie Ward got injured during that series and left the game. Looks like he has a cramp, but I'm not sure.
7:23 First play of the drive, Spencer Burford commits a holding penalty. Then three plays later on 3rd and 13, Brandon Aiyuk slips running a deep comeback route. The field is wet and built for soccer, not football. Big missed opportunity for the 49ers to put away the Cardinals. They're still alive, although they have a Pop Warner offense. After the punt, the Cardinals take over at their 12.
7:28 On 2nd and 8 from the Arizona 14, Kevin Given sacks McCoy for a 9-yard loss, and the Cardinals punt two plays later. After the punt, the 49ers offense takes over at the Arizona 47. Let's see if the 49ers offense can put away the game this time.
7:36 On 2nd and 10 from the Cardinals 13, Garoppolo throws his second touchdown pass of the night to Brandon Aiyuk, who's a red-zone monster. Another great route -- this one a slant. The Cardinals haven't pressured Garoppolo all night.
49ers 31, Cardinals 10.
7:48 The Cardinals turn the ball over on downs again. The 49ers take over at midfield.
7:52 On 2nd and 7 from the Cardinals 32, Jimmy Garoppolo fakes a handoff, rolls left and throws a quick pass to Kittle, who runs up the sideline for an easy touchdown. The Cardinals are completely out of gas. The 49ers made them quit.
49ers 38, Cardinals 10.
8:01 The Cardinals pull their starters. This game is over. Stay tuned for the 49ers' grades.