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Cardinals Game Balls to DeAndre Hopkins, Entire Defense

Hopkins set a record while the defense accomplished something head coach Kliff Kingsbury has never seen.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury applauded his team's effort in the locker room after their 17-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. 

In a video posted by the Cardinals, Kingsbury delivered two game balls, or dozens depending on how one looks at it. 

The first went to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The next to the entire defense.

Hopkins led the team with six grabs for 87 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. 

He made history, becoming the NFL's all-time leader in catches before the age of 30. Hopkins passed Larry Fitzgerald. Hopkins has 770 and because he doesn't turn 30 until next June, every catch he has in the next 12 games will add to the record.

The second-year Cardinal came up huge late in the game. He caught a 30-yard jump ball from quarterback Kyler Murray and then a fade over cornerback Josh Norman for a touchdown. 

That score made the difference in the seven-point win. 

Hopkins also brought in a grab on Arizona's final possession for a first down. He dived to stay in bounds and run the clock down, a savvy move. 

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The Cardinals defense allowed a season-low in points, coming up clutch in high-pressure situations. 

The 49ers went for it on five fourth downs and only converted on one. 

"I've never seen four fourth-down stops," Kingsbury said in his press conference. 

Arizona's defense also stayed strong on third downs, holding the 49ers to 3-for-11. 

"I think it was good for us to kind of prove that we could win a gritty game like that," defensive tackle Zach Allen said postgame. "Budda (Baker) had the interception . . . then throw in four defensive stops, that's five total turnovers." 

Allen had a sack and two tackles for loss. Defensive end J.J. Watt had three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a pass defensed. 

It was not a perfect performance by the defense, as it once again struggled against the run and on broken plays. But, the Cardinals did enough to stay ahead and in the win column. 

"We're made for these situations," Baker said. "We're made for when their offense gets the ball on the 50-yard line and we've got to eliminate points."