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49ers roll past Cardinals to win 10th straight

Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) carries the ball against Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers ended the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, dominating the second half against the Arizona Cardinals to earn a 38-13 victory, while earning the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Cardinals finished with seven consecutive defeats, and nine losses in their last 10 games, to finish 4-13 after an 11-6 record in 2021 that resulted in a spot in the playoffs.

The 49ers (13-4) delivered a similar dominating second half against the Cardinals to earn a 38-10 victory in Week 11 as they outscored Arizona 21-0 in the second half. On Sunday, they had a 17-0 advantage in the second half.

The Cardinals struck first with a trick play on the second play of the game on a pitch back to quarterback David Blough, who connected with wide receiver A.J. Green for a 77-yard touchdown. Kicker Matt Prater missed the extra point.

The 49ers then moved 75 yards in six plays and took a 7-6 lead in the opening quarter on a 21-yard scoring pass from quarterback Brock Purdy to Christian McCaffrey.

After 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. intercepted a Blough pass and returned the ball to the Cardinals’ 18-yard line, running back Elijah Mitchell scored three plays later on a 5-yard run with 12:07 remaining in the second quarter for a 14-6 lead. Mitchell was activated from injured reserve Saturday.

Arizona followed with a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended in a 1-yard TD run by Corey Clement. to cut the lead to 14-13. The 49ers answered with a 66-yard drive as George Kittle scored on a 4-yard pass from Purdy for a 21-13 halftime lead.

Mitchell scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard run on the first possession of the second half and the rout was on. Kittle scored the 49ers’ final touchdown on a 1-yard pass in the third quarter.

Purdy completed 15 of 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

San Francisco scored 17 points after two interceptions and a fumble recovery. On those turnovers, the 49ers got the ball at the Cardinals 18-, 34- and 28-yard line.

Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt played the final game of his career and went out with a bang, registering two sacks to give him 12.5 for the season. He had five tackles (three for a loss), with two quarterback hits and a pass defended.

–Field Level Media