The Cardinals committed four turnovers on the day and helped San Francisco get set up with great field position. Two of those turnovers were Carson Palmer interceptions while the other two were fumbles.
The usually stout Arizona defense gave up 149 rushing yards, 101 to running back Frank Gore. Tight end Vernon Davis was too much for the Arizona defense to handle. Davis finished with eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers win.
Start the slide show below and see how each unit grades out in this loss.
Quarterback Carson Palmer
Palmer was the lone quarterback for Arizona in this game. He turned in his best passing performance since the season-opening game with 298 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes, also a first since the opener against the St. Louis Rams.
The downside is that Palmer was intercepted twice. He's been intercepted in every game this season and now has thrown at least two interceptions in four consecutive games.
Palmer threw a pair of interceptions in the first quarter. Fortunately for him, the Arizona defense stood tall and limited the 49ers to a pair of field goals.
His numbers were better Palmer still needs to improve his game for the Cardinals to take a step forward.
Running backs: Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, Alfonso Smith
The Arizona running backs produced a mix bag of results against the 49ers.
Ellington (pictured) led the team with 56 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Ellington added five catches for 36 yards and was the most productive running back.
Mendenhall picked up 40 yards on 10 carries and looked mediocre against the 49ers.
Taylor had two carries for seven yards but Smith drags the group's grade down.
Smith was involved in two plays. He was thrown to once but didn't make the catch. His other play was a two-yard carry. Smith fumbled on the play and San Francisco recovered it. The fumble came with 5:56 left in the game and eliminated seemingly any chance Arizona had of coming back from a 29-20 fourth quarter deficit. Phil Dawson cashed it in for a 44-yard field goal and a 32-20 San Francisco lead.
It was quite the unusual time to put Smith in and give him his lone carry and it backfired on Arizona.
Wide Receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Brittan Golden, Jaron Brown and Andre Roberts
The wide receivers also produced a mixed bag of results.
Fitzgerald led the way with 117 yards and a touchdown on six catches. His touchdown was a 75-yard catch-and-run play that saw him breakaway from the San Francisco defense. Fitzgerald fumbled the ball on the San Francisco 23-yard line late in the third quarter, a critical point in the game that cost them dearly with Arizona down 22-20.
San Francisco recovered on its own 11-yard line and cashed in off Fitzgerald's fumble. They took the ball and drove 83 yards on 18 plays for a Kendall Hunter touchdown that increased the game's favor of the 49ers.
Floyd had five catches for 44 yards while Brown and Roberts each added a five-yard catch. Golden was promoted from the practice squad and made a 53-yard catch on his only reception of the game.
The fumble hurt the grade for this unit.
Tight Ends: Rob Housler and Jim Dray
The Arizona tight ends were a little more of a factor this week than they have been in the past few weeks.
Housler (pictured) made a season-best four catches for 32 yards. Dray had a four-yard reception. They're getting involved in the blocking game but are barely being called on in the offense.
The tight end spot has been a low producer for the Cardinals for the last few years and this looks like another one of those years.
Offensive Line: Bradley Sowell, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Paul Fanaika, Eric Winston
The offensive line only allowed one sack in this game but it came at a very bad time.
Sowell, the left tackle, was beaten by Corey Lemonier and the play resulted in a safety as Palmer was dumped in the end zone.
The ensuing possession resulted in a 61-yard Vernon Davis touchdown catch for San Francisco two plays later. Sowell getting beat led to nine points for the 49ers.
The rest of the game, Palmer was given time to throw. The line also created some lanes for running backs to go through, so they did a good job in this one.
Defensive Line: Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Alameda Ta'amu, Dan Williams and Frostee Rucker
The defensive line had a rough day and it bottomed out when Campbell was carted off the field in the fourth quarter as pictured.
The Cardinals tweeted on their official feed:
Arians said DE Calais Campbell has movement in all extremities and feeling was coming back, Headed to hospital to get checked out. #AZvsSF
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 14, 2013
"Arians" refers to Arizona head coach Bruce Arians.
Campbell's status for Thursday is unknown as of this time but something else happened while Campbell was being tended to. The wave. Yes, the wave.
Kevin Lynch of sfgate.com quoted San Francisco offensive lineman Joe Staley as having said, “There is a man down there on the field getting carted off, you got fans out there doing the wave, I thought it was disrespectful,” he said. “I know their players didn’t appreciate it, and our guys didn’t appreciate it. That’s our livelihood out there. It’s a brotherhood out there. I think that’s what makes this game so great. Just didn’t appreciate it.”
Campbell had four tackles and half of a sack before getting hurt. Dockett had four tackles and a sack of his own. Williams added five tackles on the day.
Linebackers: Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington, John Abraham, Matt Shaughnessy, Jasper Brinkley
Dansby posted a game-high 11 tackles, nine of them solo, and defensed three passes. Washington made three tackles, defensed two passes and recovered a fumble.
The linebackers had a tough game against San Francisco. Gore and the San Francisco ground game rolled up 149 yards. Davis presented a tough matchup and he destroyed the defense in the first half. The linebackers weren't able to stop him and neither did the defensive backs for that matter.
The Cardinals came into the game as the third-best rush defense but didn't play like it in this one. They have to turn it around, quickly, with Seattle coming into town Thursday.
Defensive Backs: Patrick Peterson, Yeremiah Bell, Tyrann Mathieu, Jerraud Powers, Tony Jefferson, Rashad Johnson, Justin Bethel, Antoine Cason
The good news is that the Arizona defensive backs held eight receivers to three catches or fewer. Former Cardinal Anquan Boldin led that pack with three catches for 28 yards.
Of course, Davis was a problem for them. Bell (pictured) found that out first hand. Mathieu led the unit with six tackles and two were for loss. He also took a stupid penalty after Hunter scored his touchdown by throwing him to the ground. Thankfully the 49ers were whistled for penalties on the play to offset Mathieu's mental miscue.
Arizona has been weak defending the tight end and Davis took advantage of it at the expense of the defensive backs.
Placekicker Jay Feely and punter Dave Zastudil
Feely came out and hit both of his conversion kicks. Zastudl punted five times for an average of 43.6 yards and dropped two punts inside the 20-yard line.
Both players did exactly what they were supposed to do in the opportunity given. They were good but nothing really wowed in this game. Zastudil has set the bar high on himself after last season's performance.