Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Silver linings: 49ers at Cardinals
By Mike Sando
The facts: The 49ers suffered their seventh defeat in nine games this season, falling 29-24 to the Cardinals.
The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two ...
- The reconfigured offense moved the ball effectively on the ground. Frank Gore rushed for 99 yards as the offensive line opened holes, particularly in the first half.
- Young receivers Josh Morgan and Jason Hill made significant contributions. Hill isn't the most naturally confident player. The strong performance on Monday night should give him a boost.
- Interim coach Mike Singletary showed much more restraint in his postgame comments and overall emotional state. He sounded more like a head coach.
- Vernon Davis' acrobatic touchdown catch over Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson showed how effective the third-year tight end can be. The penalty after the play was ill-advised, but at least Davis had a legitimate reason to celebrate. That's a start.
- Defensive end/outside linebacker Justin Smith was again a problem for the Cardinals. Arizona even designed quarterback rollouts to the other side.
- Rookie Chilo Rachal made his regular-season debut at guard a success. His block helped spring Gore for a 20-yard run.
The schedule might present another silver lining for the 49ers. The Rams visit Candlestick Park in Week 11.