SANTA CLARA — Just how embarrassing was this loss?
The 49ers played the NFL’s only winless team, the Arizona Cardinals, and still lost by 10. The final score was 28-18. The 49ers have lost three games in a row and their record is 1-4.
The 49ers played at home against a rookie quarterback, Josh Rosen, making his first career road start, and still lost by 10.
The 49ers limited Rosen to just 10 completions out of 25 pass attempts —a 40 percent completion percentage — and still lost by 10.
The 49ers held the Cardinals offense to just 10 first downs the entire game, and still lost by 10.
The 49ers allowed the Cardinals offense to gain just 51 net yards in the second half, and still lost by 10.
The 49ers scored a touchdown on their first drive, and still lost by 10.
The 49ers ran 43 more plays than the Cardinals and outgained them by 227 yards, and still lost by 10.
The 49ers had the ball for 40:12 — more than two thirds of the game — and still lost by 10.
How did the 49ers lose by 10 despite all that? Simple. They committed a whopping five turnovers, and the Cardinals committed zero.
“Our guys fought hard,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said during his postgame press conference. “But, when you have five turnovers, it’s borderline impossible (to win). We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes.”
Mistakes defined the game for the 49ers. In addition to the turnovers, they committed nine penalties, and kicker Robbie Gould missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal attempt. He had made 33 field goals in a row.
Third-string running back Raheem Mostert committed one turnover — he fumbled his first carry of the game. He was filling in for starter Matt Breida, who sprained his left ankle during the first quarter and did not return.
C.J. Beathard committed the other four turnovers. He dropped back to pass a career-high 60 times, threw 54 passes, scrambled twice, got sacked four times, threw two interceptions and fumbled twice. Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes scooped one of the fumbles off the grass and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown.
Beathard finished the game with a meager quarterback rating of 78.4. He completed a respectable 63 percent of his passes, and even threw for a career-high 349 yards, but averaged a subpar 6.5 yards per pass attempt. And, he committed those four turnovers.
“Just got to take better care of the ball,” Beathard said. “We played well in all other aspects except for the turnovers.
The 49ers certainly ran the ball well. They gained 147 yards on the ground and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
The 49ers defense played well, too. Extremely well. Granted, it was facing the 32-ranked offense out of 32 NFL teams. Still, the 49ers defense shined, even though it gave up a 75-yard touchdown catch during its first play from scrimmage.
The play was a play-action deep pass to rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk. The 49ers were playing zone coverage. Free safety Adrian Colbert was responsible for the deep-middle portion of the defense.