2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Cardinals' misery ends with 27-13 loss at 49ers

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-30 21:01

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals huddled around televisions in the visitors' locker room at Candlestick Park late Sunday afternoon to watch the Minnesota Vikings clinch a playoff berth with a game-winning field goal against Green Bay. Faint cheers could be heard from across the hall of the San Francisco 49ers celebrating a first-round playoff bye, setting the scene for how Arizona will be spending January again.

As postseason spectators.

The Cardinals closed the season losing 11 of their last 12 games, capping off three miserable months with a 27-13 defeat to the NFC West champion 49ers. Whether coach Ken Whisenhunt returns for the final year of his deal is unclear, and so is so much else about the future of the franchise, except that there will likely be big changes - and soon.

``We haven't won enough games this year. That's the bottom line,'' Whisenhunt said. ``It doesn't matter that you had injuries, that you had changes in personnel, playing rookies. Ultimately, that's the way it goes. But our guys played hard all year, and I'm proud of that. But it's not something I can control.''

Near the top of Arizona's to-do list will be quarterback.

Brian Hoyer, the fourth starter for Arizona this season, completed 19 of 34 passes for 225 yards with an interception and a late TD toss to Michael Floyd in his first career start. The Cardinals (5-11) claimed Hoyer off waivers from Pittsburgh just three weeks ago, and he relieved Ryan Lindley in a loss to Chicago a week earlier before filling in for the finale.

``I know it's been a long year,'' said Hoyer, who will also be a free agent. ``I've only been here three weeks, and I know how disappointing it feels to me to lose this game. I can only imagine for those guys.''

Just who will be in charge of the decisions also is uncertain.

Cardinals President Michael Bidwill had said he would evaluate the situation after the season ended. General manager Rod Graves also might be gone. If Whisenhunt is retained, some of his assistants almost certainly won't.

Even some of the most tenured and decorated veterans are among those wondering what's next.

``I don't know what to expect. I really don't,'' said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who caught 71 passes for 798 yards this season, his lowest total since he had 780 yards receiving his rookie year in 2004. ``I'll be listening and watching what's going to happen myself.''

San Francisco showed just how far away Arizona is in a division that only seems to be getting better.

Michael Crabtree caught touchdown passes of 49 and 7 yards and finished with a career-high 172 yards receiving, Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-best 276 yards and two TDs and the Niners (11-4-1) did their part to control their postseason fate. Then they waited about 15 minutes to watch Minnesota beat Green Bay, giving San Francisco the NFC's No. 2 seed and a week off before hosting a divisional playoff game for the second straight season.

Frank Gore ran for a 2-yard score early in the fourth quarter for his franchise-best 51st touchdown rushing, breaking a tie with mentor Roger Craig and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry. Crabtree's outstanding outing was the best by a 49ers receiver since Terrell Owens' 166-yard performance on Nov. 25, 2002, against Philadelphia.

The Cardinals outgained the 49ers 129-15 in the opening quarter and held San Francisco without a first down. Jay Feely kicked two field goals to give Arizona a 6-0 lead before the 49ers ran away with the win.

``Today's game kind of mirrored our season,'' Whisenhunt said. ``We started out well and did some things good. Couldn't do enough early against a good football team, and then we made mistakes in the second half that really hurt us. ``

Hoyer exhibited poise in the early moments.

The former New England backup and Michigan State quarterback completed seven of his first 13 passes, including three straight - for 7, 15 and 12 yards - to set up Feely's 35-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Feely added a 31-yarder early in the second, but that lead didn't last long.

The Cardinals ended a six-game stretch without a touchdown pass when Hoyer hit Floyd on a 37-yard strike late in the fourth quarter.

Arizona pounded the ball toward the right side of San Francisco's defensive line where Pro Bowler Justin Smith had been stout against the run all season before getting hurt two weeks ago. But Hoyer, who replaced the benched Ryan Lindley in last week's 28-13 home loss to the Bears, couldn't make enough plays against San Francisco's stingy defense.

``I think we kind of shocked them coming out,'' Hoyer said. ``They didn't expect us to give them what we had. You'd obviously like to finish it off on a better note than that.''

Notes: Whisenhunt said RB Beanie Wells didn't play because the team had practiced certain schemes that fit William Powell better and once Powell got going early he wanted to stick with him. Powell finished with 14 carries for 52 yards. ... Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson was lost to a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. RG Pat McQuistan was sidelined in the first with an ankle injury and didn't return. LB Paris Lenon injured his left hand in the second half.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group