A 49ers defense that managed only three sacks in their first three games had six on Sunday, including Solomon Thomas’ first-ever NFL sack.
With Tank Carradine out for at least eight weeks, the expectation was that Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, would fill in at Carradine’s so-called “big end” spot on San Francisco’s line.
Instead, he was the team’s designed pass rusher, the so-called “Leo” or “Elephant” defensive end, on base downs while Arik Armstead played the big end position. In addition to his sack, Thomas had three hits on quarterback Carson Palmer; the 49ers had 16 hits on Palmer on the afternoon.
“It felt great,” Thomas said of his sack. “The defense got great pressure and flushed him out of the pocket, and I was there for the easy sack. It was great to get the first one out of the way.”
On obvious passing downs, Thomas usually moved inside to defensive tackle and Elvis Dumervil took over one of the edge-rushing spots.
Dumervil had two sacks Sunday – the 100th and 101st of his career – while DeForest Buckner, Eli Harold and Ray-Ray Armstrong also recorded their first sacks of the season.
Buckner would have had two sacks Sunday, but his take-down of Palmer in overtime was wiped away when the 49ers accepted a Cardinals holding penalty instead.
The sack would have made it third and 15 at the San Francisco 30. The penalty led to second and 20 at the 35-yard line.
“I thought they were in pretty easy field goal range and that by knocking them back, we’d have a chance,” Kyle Shanahan said. “I wanted to play to win that game and not to tie it.”
Gould golden – The 49ers new and old kickers were perfect on the day. Phil Dawson made all four attempts for Arizona while Robbie Gould was good on kicks from 49, 39, 47, 48 and 23 yards.
Dating to last season, Gould has made 28 straight field-goal attempts. He attributed that success to his chemistry with longsnapper Kyle Nelson and holder Bradley Pinion.
“It’s been a cool process because as soon as I came in here, the three of us just clicked,” he said. “I had one of my best offseasons, I had one of my best training camps working hard with those guys, working on small things, trying to perfect it.”
Hyde hurting – Carlos Hyde started Sunday’s game but admitted afterward the oblique injury he suffered in Week 3 against the Rams was bothering him.
“I felt alright,” he said. “I didn’t feel like myself all he way, but I felt like I could still be effective. I had to manage it a little bit, just taking a breather. I still felt good.”
Hyde had 16 carries for 68 yards with another 27 yards on five receptions. His top backup, Matt Breida, had his busiest game of the season so far – nine carries for 16 yards.
Et cetera – Receiver Marquise Goodwin suffered a concussion in the first half and left the game. He suffered two concussions – in August and September – last year when he was with the Buffalo Bills.
* The 49ers continue to suffer injuries at safety. The latest to go down was rookie Adrian Colbert, who left the game with a hamstring strain. Linebacker Dekoda Watson was sidelined with a groin injury.
* The 49ers were penalized 13 times for 113 yards. They’ve been hit with 10 penalties in two other games this season.