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49ers report card vs. Cardinals

Published: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 - 11:13 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 - 11:46 pm

REPORT CARD

Offense: The 49ers look like the team to beat in the playoffs in the first quarter but then went into hibernation until the end of the fourth quarter. Arizona shuts down San Francisco's run game, which is awful in short-yardage situations. Grade: C

Defense: Carson Palmer was sacked 40 times in the previous 15 games but the 49ers sack him only once. That gives the Cardinals quarterback time to make big plays and throw for 407 yards, the most San Francisco has surrendered this season. Grade: C+

Special teams: Phil Dawson's consecutive field goals streak ends at 27. But the 49ers' return game looks sharp and Dawson more than makes amends with a 56-yarder in the fourth quarter and a 40-yard game winner as time expires. Grade: A

Overall: The 49ers have a flair for the dramatic for the second straight week. But the fact that opponents have had two prolific games through the air against them I successive weeks and with Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers on the horizon is a concern. Grade: B

– Matthew Barrows

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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