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49ers notebook: Two-point trickery didn't fool defense

  • Corey Lemonier of the 49ers sacks Carson Palmer of the Cardinals for a safety during their NFL game on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

SAN FRANCISCO — One of the biggest plays and biggest decisions of the game occurred with 8:12 left in the third quarter, just after the Cardinals scored on Carson Palmer's 10-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Floyd to cut the 49ers' lead to 22-20. Arizona coach Bruce Arians decided to go for the two-point conversion, though it seemed a little early in the game to start playing the percentages.

Not only that, the Cardinals dialed up a trick play on the conversion, with star cornerback Patrick Peterson taking an end-around, then doubling back to his right and looking to throw the ball. The Niners had it covered perfectly, and Peterson's throw wound up in the arms of San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rogers.

It was no lucky break. The 49ers said afterward that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had alerted his unit to the play, putting it on one of the cards the scout team uses in practice.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals

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“On that play, we knew that he is supposed to reverse back out, and we expected it,” safety Eric Reid said. “We had tight-enough coverage not to converge, and we did our job. The coaches knew he could throw from his draft profile.”

SWEET DAY FOR LEMONIER

You can't really replace an athletic freak like Aldon Smith, who has taken a leave of absence to get straight in alcohol rehab and has no timetable for returning to the 49ers. But Corey Lemonier, a rookie outside linebacker from Auburn, did more than hold his own against the Cardinals on Sunday.

Lemonier gave San Francisco an 8-7 lead when he charged in to sack Palmer for a safety in the second quarter. And he all but put away the game with six minutes left when he forced running back Alfonso Smith to fumble, and teammate NaVorro Bowman recovered for the 49ers.

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