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Four Takeaways From Cardinals' 38-10 Loss to 49ers

It's an understatement that the Arizona Cardinals were routed by the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.
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The Arizona Cardinals needed a win in Mexico City to keep their playoff hopes in reach, but they ended up getting pounced by a score of 38-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

Arizona had nine players on Injured Reserve entering Monday. Kyler Murray missed his second straight game due to a lingering hamstring injury. 

But it didn't matter. Kliff Kingsbury had no answers on offense as the Cardinals were shutout in the second half.

The Cardinals drop to 4-7 for the season and are 1-4 against the NFC West.

Here are the Cardinals' four takeaways following their Week 11 loss.

Cardinals Defense Was in Shambles

Brandon Aiyuk

At one point, the 49ers scored on four straight drives. Jimmy Garoppolo also threw two touchdowns on third-down against the Cardinals defense.

Any football fan knows that Jimmy Garoppolo feasts on the check-down game. The Cardinals found out the hard way that the 49ers would utilize Christian McCaffrey in the short-passing game throughout the game. McCaffrey totaled seven receptions on 67 yards.

You can't forget about San Francisco's running game, either. Their running backs posted 28 carries for 159 yards and one touchdown, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt.

Kyle Shanahan had complete control of an Arizona defense led by Vance Joseph. The Cardinals were out-coached and out-played in every facet imaginable.

The Cardinals had trouble tackling. ESPN announcer Troy Aikman even called Arizona's tackling effort "embarrassing" on George Kittle's 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

This is also the fourth time in the last five games that the Cardinals defense has given up 30 or more points. 

Anemic Run Game 

James Conner

Unlike San Francisco, Arizona couldn't get anything going from their running backs.  Lead running back James Conner had 14 carries for 42 yards and one touchdown.

Arizona had Rondale Moore run an end-around in the first play of the game that lost six yards. They had five runs on first down that went for negative yardage in the first half. 

The Cardinals being down in games forces the Cardinals to run the ball less in the second half of games. But it doesn't seem that Arizona has an identity in their running back group. And the Cardinals surprisingly released Eno Benjamin, who had a 92-yard performance against the Saints in Week 7.

Welcome Back Greg Dortch

Greg Dortch
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Prior to Monday, Dortch had five receptions for 23 yards in the previous seven games. The Cardinals utilized Dortch in the first three games of the season as he caught 20 passes for 198 yards in that span.

On Monday, Dortch caught nine receptions for 101 yards, including a 47-yard catch, which is the team's longest play of the season. 

With Moore out indefinitely and Marquise Brown still out, expect Dortch to be the second target behind Hopkins moving forward.

Questionable Calls From Officiating

Kliff Kingsbury

It's without question that the Cardinals had no business winning this game after looking at the final score. 

However, in the first quarter, Cardinals defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was called for a 15-yard facemask penalty — except he didn't have contact with McCaffrey's facemask. 

San Francisco was down 3-0 at the time, and would score a touchdown on that same drive, giving them a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. 

Then, DeAndre Hopkins was called for a controversial taunting penalty when he took a moment to count 49ers players on the ground after a first down reception on third-and-seven. 

The Cardinals would be forced to play on their own 45 instead of from the San Francisco 40.

Two plays later, Colt McCoy was picked off by Jimmie Ward. The 49ers would then score a touchdown from George Kittle to go up 14-3 in the first half.

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