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His players may have complained about the officiating after being penalized for 107 yards in Arizona, but Jim Harbaugh tried his best to steer clear of the blame game during his Monday press conference.

“In terms of officiating, we never point any finger of blame or make excuses in terms of the officiating,” he said. “Sometimes the football gods can be unforgiving. And I say gods with a small 'g.' But you work to fix it, and I'm confident we'll do that.”

The team's MVP from last season, receiver, Anquan Boldin, certainly didn't hesitate to point fingers at the officials. He noted that the penalties in the last two games have been lopsided – 26 to the 49ers and 15 for their opponents.

“The amount of calls that have gone against us and the amount of calls that we’ve gotten hasn’t been close,” Boldin said Sunday night in the visiting locker room. “Every week, it’s the same thing – send the tape in, the NFL just reports back, ‘We made a mistake.’ But at the same time, the crap cost us another game.”

Two men have been arrested on assault charges after fighting in the stands during Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

Glendale police Sgt. Jay O'Neill said officers helped stadium security personnel who responded to two separate brawls in adjoining upper deck sections of University of Phoenix Stadium.

Video posted in social media showed several 49ers and Cardinals fans exchanging shoves and then punches.

A pile of people then tumbled a few feet down concrete stairs, leaving one man with a cut to his head.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Frank Gore’s six carries Sunday illustrated just how much the 49ers veered from their usual style.

Frank Gore played half the 49ers’ snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals and had only one carry in the second half despite San Francisco’s eight-point lead at the start of the third quarter. Gore’s relatively small impact in the game underscored how much the team’s offense veered from its usual run-first identity against Arizona.

Gore had played 72 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 1 and 69 percent in Week 2. Against the Cardinals, he rushed six times for 10 yards. Gore never has had fewer than six carries in a game that he started and in which he was not injured.

Fullback Bruce Miller, who had played 40 percent and 36 percent of the snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, was in on 14 percent of the plays Sunday. Derek Carrier was the team’s only healthy tight end but played just 53 percent of the snaps and caught one pass. The other healthy tight end, Asante Cleveland, was in on six special teams plays but played no snaps on offense.

Meanwhile, four receivers – Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd – played more snaps than Gore. Another, Bruce Ellington, played 20 snaps, including two when he lined up as a running back.

Authorities say they are investigating a weekend burglary at the home of San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald.

Police Sgt. Heather Randol said Monday that someone broke into McDonald's San Jose home and stole several personal items late Saturday night. No arrests have been made.

McDonald was in Arizona last weekend preparing for the 49ers' game against the Cardinals. The Cardinals beat the 49ers 23-14 Sunday.

McDonald is still waiting to hear from Santa Clara County prosecutors on whether he will face any charges in connection with his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence at his home on Aug. 31. McDonald lives at the address with his fiancee.

Ross D. Franklin/AP
San Francisco 49ers players watch from the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-14. (AP Photo/ Ross D. Franklin)
Colin Kaepernick, Calais Campbell
Rick Scuteri/AP
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) is hit by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/ Rick Scuteri)

For the second straight game, the 49ers lost their cool, lost a lead and lost the contest.

This time, they took a 14-6 lead and what appeared to be an unstoppable offense into halftime, only to be ravaged by costly penalties and wide-open opposing receivers in the second half.

They fell 23-14 to an Arizona Cardinals team they had beaten nine times in their previous 10 meetings. The Cardinals (3-0) lead the 49ers (1-2) by two games in the NFC West.

The 49ers have been outscored 52-3 in the second half this season, a Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde personality coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t explain.

The 49ers, who have been as run-oriented, old-school and stodgy as any team in the league in the Jim Harbaugh era, rolled out a slick new look against Arizona on Sunday.

The 49ers rarely had used even three-receiver sets in the previous three seasons. But because of a lack of healthy tight ends, they used five wide receivers multiple times, including on five straight plays on their opening possession. The receiver-heavy look did not feature a running back, and the 49ers ran it without a huddle.

It was successful.

On their initial drive, the 49ers ran 12 plays, the last a 2-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree to make the score 7-3. They mounted a 14-play drive on their second possession capped by Carlos Hyde’s stretch run to the left side for a 6-yard touchdown.

Sunday, September 21 2014
49ers report card against Cardinals

• Offense: The wide receiver-heavy offense picks up yards and points in the first half but goes nowhere in the second. The 49ers’ running backs total only 23 yards. Grade: D

• Defense: Opponents appear to be picking on rookie Jimmie Ward to great effect while the 49ers’ pass rush continues to struggle. Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton is not known for his scrambling ability, but San Francisco registers no sacks. Grade: C-

• Special teams: The 49ers give up a blocked field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter that gives the Cardinals good field position. The return game is adequate but doesn’t offer much punch. Grade: C-

• Overall: The 49ers have been outscored 52-3 in the second half this season. Another penalty-filled game points to a team that has trouble keeping its composure, which shouldn’t happen on a squad with so much big-game experience. Grade: D

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Tony Avelar/ The Associated Press
The 49ers encourage Colin Kaepernick to run, and one observer wonders if that strategy hurts his pocket passing.
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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick has insisted he didn’t say anything to prompt an $11,000 fine for inappropriate language.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Who kidnapped Jim Harbaugh and brainwashed Greg Roman?

The 49ers, who have been as run-oriented, old-school and stodgy as any team in the league in the Harbaugh era, rolled out a slick new look against Arizona in the first half.

The 49ers rarely had used even three receivers over the previous three seasons. But presumably due to a lack of healthy tight ends, the team used five wide receivers on multiple occasions, including on five straight plays on the opening possession. The receiver-heavy look did not feature a running back and the 49ers ran it without a huddle.

It was successful.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick has insisted he didn’t say anything to prompt an $11,000 fine for inappropriate language.

GLENDALE, ARIZ. -- Colin Kaepernick was fined more than $11,000 last week because of a racial slur he said following an interception to the Bears, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, who cited “refs” as his source in a tweet today.

Kaepernick was penalized for “inappropriate language” at the time. He has insisted he didn’t say anything and that he will appeal the fine levied by the NFL this week. Video of the episode shows Kaepernick saying something to Bears defensive lineman Lamarr Houston. He does not appear to use a slur, although it is difficult to say exactly what was uttered.

Houston told The Chicago Tribune he didn’t hear Kaepernick say anything.

Jim Harbaugh said he didn’t hear anything from his spot on the sideline and that he believes Kaepernick. “Colin’s always been truthful 100 percent of the time,” he said.

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Hector Amezcua/ The Bee
Tight end Vernon Davis will sit out today’s game against the Cardinals

Both Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald are inactive for today’s game against the Cardinals, which will give Derek Carrier, who had his first-ever NFL catch last week, his first-ever NFL start this week.

Carrier and Asante Cleveland, who was brought up from the practice squad Saturday, are the 49ers’ only healthy tight ends. That likely means a bigger role for fullback Bruce Miller and for the 49ers’ extra offensive linemen, who could be brought in to play tight end in blocking situations.

Long-snapper Kyle Nelson also could be tapped to play the position if the 49ers suffer further injuries.

In two meetings against the Cardinals last year, Davis had 11 catches for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

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Tony Avelar/ The Associated Press
The 49ers encourage Colin Kaepernick to run, and one observer wonders if that strategy hurts his pocket passing.

If your offense includes designed runs by the quarterback, you may have to live with an ugly-interception game every now and then.

That was the take of NFL Films’ Greg Cosell after he watched Colin Kaepernick’s performance against the Chicago Bears last week. Cosell said he didn’t think Kaepernick played all that poorly. But he wondered whether a quarterback who is encouraged to run as much as Kaepernick ever will be able to throw from the pocket as well as the top passers in the league.

After two games, Kaepernick’s 14 rushing attempts trail only the New York Jets’ Geno Smith among quarterbacks. The 49ers have at least partially built their running game around Kaepernick’s read-option scampers. Touchdown runs by Carlos Hyde and Frank Gore, for example, have come on read-option plays on which the quarterback was a threat to run.

“Look at Michael Vick,” Cosell said. “Coaches marveled at his athleticism, which was superhuman, and every year what did people say? ‘Boy, he’s just got to improve as a pocket quarterback and he’ll be great.’ Well, 13 years into his career and he’s still a very spotty pocket quarterback.”

Saturday, September 20 2014
49ers game plan vs. Arizona

49ERS AT ARIZONA

•  Opponent: at Arizona

•  Time: 1:05 p.m.

•  Line: 49ers by 3

For 49ers blog posts before May 2014, go to the blog archives

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.

49ers Blog Archives

Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.


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