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We're just about two hours away from the kickoff of the 2009 season and I think everybody's pretty amped up to get things going. We'll also have some new features on the website for you! Once the game begins, click on the game box on the homepage for live play-by-play, updated stats and scoring summaries. You can also stay tuned to this blog for quarterly summaries, injury updates and statistical milestones. I'll also post the inactive list once we get that information from PR. The picture above is the view from the press box. I'll try to do this every week when we're on the road.
An interesting note from today's game as Shaun Hill becomes the third undrafted quarterback to start the season opener in 49ers history. Who were the other two? Frank Albert in 1950-52 and Jeff Garcia from 2000-2003.
The inactives for today's game are…
San Francisco: Ahmad Brooks, Jason Hill, Ricky Jean Francois, Brandon Jones, Reggie Smith, Curtis Taylor, Cody Wallace and Nate Davis
Arizona Cardinals: Brian St. Pierre, Steve Breaston, Greg Toler, Reggie Walker, Herman Johnson, Brandon Keith, Early Doucet and Dominique Byrd
The 49ers appeared to have forced a 3 and out for the Cardinals on their first drive, but Justin Smith was called for holding on third down which gave the Birds and automatic first down. On the next third down, Warner found Hightower short, but Patrick Willis chased him down and forced the punt. It was an impressive series to start the game for the defense, holding the Cardinals despite the costly penalty.
It was an equally impressive series for the Cardinals defense, forcing the three and out. Frank Gore was stopped for losses on 1st and 2nd down. Hill was able to find Vernon Davis on third down, but he was held shy of the sticks.
On the second drive for Arizona, Fitzgerald appeared to have mad a big play in the middle of the field, but that was due to pushing away Nate Clements. The offensive PI call backed the Cardinals up. On third and long, Patrick Willis made a leaping interception in front of WR Urban. It was Willis' 2nd career interception
Thanks to the pick by Willis, the 49ers started their next drive from the AZ 37. On 3rd and 6 from the 19, Hill floated it up for Morgan in the end zone. The defender was draped over Morgan for what could have been a pass interference call. The 49ers settled for a Nedney field goal.
49ers 3 – Cardinals 0
Due to a low block penalty on the kickoff, the Cardinals began the next drive from the 9. On 2nd down, the 49ers showed great pressure as Justin Smith hit Warner as he released the ball. Fitzgerald was the intended target, but the ball fell low. On 3rd and long, the 49ers dropped into coverage, allowing the short completion to Hightower and making the tackle – textbook defense on 3rd and long. the 49ers were called for 12 men on the field on the punt. Singletary challenged the call and the review was clear that the 49ers had 8 men on the line and 3 deep. That's 11, no penalty… 49ers ball.
Hill targeted his talented tight ends on the first two plays of the next drive, hitting Walker on 1st down and looking for Davis on 2nd down. Adrian Wilson was flagged for leading with his helmet against Davis which knocked the ball loose. The 49ers were held to a 50-yard field goal attempt by Nedney which he nailed right down the middle.
** Nedney ranks 1st in franchise history with 7 field goals of 50 or more yards.
49ers 6 – Cardinals 0
The Cardinals got off to a quick start their next drive as Warner found Urban deep down the middle of the field. Warner then found Hightower in the flat who escaped the reach of Willis and got out of bounds at the 27. On a broken play, Warner scramble and was sacked by Haralson. That wraps up the 1st quarter.
On 3rd and 8, Dre' Bly was able to bat down Warner's pass intended for Boldin. Rackers came on and connected on a 44-yard FG.
49ers 6 – Cardinals 3
On the 49ers next drive, Hill was able to find Morgan on a few occasions, once on each side of the field to move the ball out to the 50. On 3rd and short, Hill was unable to find Gore out of the backfield as his pass was knocked down at the line.
The 49ers pass rush has been effective so far this game as Harlson got to Warner for the sack. Haralson beat T Levi Brown off the right side and brought the QB down at the 5. The 49ers were flagged for a block in the back on the punt and will start the drive at their own 27 with 8:19 left in the half.
Darnell Dockett shot into the backfield on first down to stop Coffee for a loss on first down. Hill found Battle on a slant on 3rd down, but he came up just inches short of the first down and will punt.
Good defense by the 49ers forced the Cardinals to go 3 and out on their next drive. On third and short, Warner's pass went off the hands of Lance Long.
The Cardinals continue to play well against the 49ers running gain. Gore picked up 3 on 1st down and just a couple more on 2nd down. If they're able to break a long run, it could open things up quite a bit. Hill moved the chains on 3rd and 5, finding gore just past the markers. On second down, Hill had Walker open down the right side in between the corner and safety, but his pass was a bit too long. HUGE PLAY on 3rd and 10. Hill pump faked and found Isaac Bruce for a 50-yard gain on a deep slant. On the very next play, Gore punched it in from 6 yards out.
*** The 50 yard completion to Bruce was a career best for Hill. His previous best was the 48-yarder to Morgan against STL last year.
***It was also Gore's 23rd career rushing TD.
49ers 13- Cardinals 3
On the first play of the next drive, Warner was pressured by Lawson. Warner couldn't get anything on the pass and the floating pass was picked off easily by Nate Clements. The 49ers will take over from the AZ 39-yard line.
With just two minutes left on the clock, another score her could be huge as the 49ers will receive to start the second half. A sack by Darnell Dockett though makes that more difficult as it brings up 3rd and 19. Rolle came with a corner blitz on 3rd down and hit Hill as he threw. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass and blown dead. However, the play was reviewed and reversed. Since it was blown dead, the Cardinals will get the ball at their own 40-yard line with 1:15 left in the half and 1 timeout remaining.
In just two plays, the Cardinals were able to move the ball down to the SF 45. Ray McDonald brings down Warner for a 5 yard loss and forcing the Cards to burn their final timeout. With just 11 seconds left, Rackers will attempt the field goal, but unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on SF moves the ball half the distance to the goal. Warner and the AZ offense will come back on. The penalty was almost very costly as Warner looked for Fitzgerald for a would-be TD. Clements had great coverage on the play and was able to break up the pass. Rackers hits the field goal.
49ers 13 – Cardinals 6
The 49ers went three and out on their first drive of the half as Hill's pass was too high for Gore on 3rd and 5.
Warner found Hightower on 3rd down for a 10 yard gain and a first down. Several great plays by the 49ers defense forced the Cardinals to punt. Willis had a TFL on 1st down, Bly made a diving pass break up in front of Boldin on 2nd down and Fitzgerald couldn't haul in Warner's pass on 3rd down.
After a touchback, the 49ers will begin their next drive from the 20. The 49ers couldn't get anything going however. On 3rd and long, the 49ers went with a run by Gore, but were stopped well short of the chains.
The Cardinals began their next drive on fire. After a big completion to Fitzgerald down the right sideline, Wells ripped off two big runs down to the SF 28. On 3rd and 1, Warner found Hightower out of the backfield who beat the coverage of Haralson and got all the way down to the 5. The Cardinals were able to tie it up as Warner hit a wide open Fitgerald for the TD. Warner rolled right and was pressured by Willis, but Warner got the pass away.
49ers 13 – Cardinals 13
All the momentum is with the Cardinals right now. Two incomplete passes and a sack force the 49ers to punt.
In just two plays, the Cardinals picked up two first downs to Urban and Boldin. The Cardinals offense is really starting to click. The 49ers had a chance to get off the field on 3rd and 4, but Haralson was called offside and the Cardinals got the first down the easy way.
Rackers connected on a 43-yard field goal to give AZ the lead.
Cardinals 16 – 49ers 13
The 49ers got their first 1st down of the 2nd half after Hill found Davis wide open on third down on a short slant route. On the next play, Rogers-Cromartie nearly picked off Hill's pass as he looked deep to Bruce. Hill moved the chains again on third down, threading the needle to Bruce who made a nice grab. Again on third down, Hill found Bruce for a nice gain on the left side on a comeback route. the 49ers are now within field goal range to potentially tie it up. Nice move by Battle who caught a short out route, cut back and gained 10 yards. Hill found Davis coming across the middle for another 1st down at the 9. the 49ers then took the lead as Hill found a wide open Gore in the flat to the right. There wasn't anybody within 10 yards of him and Gore easily walked in for 6. Nedney tacked on the extra point to put the 49ers up by 4.
49ers 20 – Cardinals 16
It'll now be up to the defense to hold with 7:21 remaining in the game. The Cardinals were able to get one first down before the D forced the punt. Ben Graham had a great 64-yard punt to pin the 49ers at the 2. With 5:31, this will be a big drive for the offense. If they can get a few first downs here, it could make things tough for AZ.
the 49ers go with three runs and lose one yard and will have to punt from their own 1. Lee's punt was a good one, but Rolle had a 27-yard return back to the SF 38.
I have to go down on the field soon, so follow all the action on Twitter.