San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (99) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) After nothing but success the first eight games of the season, the San Francisco 49ers now are learning to deal with failure.
The Niners' perfect season was derailed last week with an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks when San Francisco was unable to overcome a litany of offensive miscues.
The 49ers (8-1) will look to get back on the winning track Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals (3-6-1) for the second time in three weeks.
''I think we have a good mindset with it,'' said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who had his worst day of the season in the 27-24 loss. ''Everyone was in here yesterday working on the day off. Today it's just a sense of urgency in the building. It's good to see that.''
San Francisco committed three turnovers, allowed five sacks and struggled to get much of anything going consistently on the ground or through the air against Seattle.
The 49ers had season lows in yards rushing (87) and yards per attempt passing (4.7) on a night that star tight end George Kittle was out with an injury and No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders left with injured ribs in the first quarter.
San Francisco is using that performance as a teaching tool for the rest of the season.
''You learn from the good and you learn more from the bad,'' tackle Mike McGlinchey said. ''It's a huge step in the right direction for us to be able take as many blows as we did and play as poorly as we did and still have a chance, not only one chance but multiple chances to win that game. That's a testament to how our defense played. ... We need to do a better job on the offensive side of the ball to make sure we reward their work.''
The Cardinals are stumbling toward their bye week, having lost three straight games after a promising start to the first season under coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.
One of those losses was two weeks ago when Arizona fell 28-25 at home to the 49ers, a performance that gives the Cardinals confidence that if they can fix some mistakes they can compete with the first-place Niners.
''I don't think we played our best game,'' Murray said. ''I know personally, if we just go out and execute - they know what we do, we know what they do - if we go out and execute, we should be in good shape.''
The Niners' offense was done in by the absence of Kittle and Sanders last week. San Francisco scored 10 points on the opening two drives when Sanders was healthy and then just six more on offense the rest of the game. With no consistent receiving threats, the Seahawks were able to load up against the run and allow only 3.2 yards per carry. Kendrick Bourne had two key drops for San Francisco, while Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin combined for no catches on six targets.
Arizona has relied on a variety of playmakers this season and the latest to make big plays is rookie receiver Andy Isabella. The second-round pick out of UMass had an 88-yard touchdown catch against the 49ers in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 31. He has six catches for 174 yards over the past three games after not even being targeted in the season's first seven games. Kingsbury said Isabella has been improving steadily all season.
''It's been trending that way for a while,'' he said. ''We've had him inside, had him outside, and I think now the comfort level, having him outside more so, has really helped his development recently.''
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The defensive star of the game for the 49ers last week was middle linebacker Fred Warner, who stepped up his performance in his first game since fellow starting linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle. Warner had 10 tackles, the first two sacks of his career, one forced fumble and a pass defensed.
''He gets us in and out of everything,'' coach Kyle Shanahan said. ''He has to make a ton of calls. He's definitely our quarterback out there and I think he does it as good as anyone I've seen.''
Arizona's defense ranks 31st out of 32 teams in points allowed (281), total yards allowed per game (412.5) and passing yards allowed per game (286.5). The Cardinals have given up at least 21 points in all 10 games this season but never have given up more than 38. Linebacker Chandler Jones has been one of the bright spots with 11 1/2 sacks and five forced fumbles. Three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson returned from a six-game suspension last month but hasn't had much of an impact. Kingsbury said the Cardinals had bouts of poor tackling in last week's 30-27 loss to Tampa Bay.
''There were some shoulders being thrown,'' Kingsbury said. ''We have to be better in those situations.''
The 49ers again will be without starting left tackle Joe Staley, who will be out a couple of weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken finger. Staley broke a bone in his leg in Week 2 and missed the next six games. He then got hurt in his return to the lineup. With Staley unable to go, rookie Justin Skule is expected to move back into the lineup.
''I thought he did a very good job,'' Shanahan said of Skule. ''He came in there and stepped it up right away. Did a good job in his first game and I thought he got better each week.''
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton caught five of his seven targets for 34 yards in a 38-24 win over the Houston Texans in Week 14.
Fantasy Spin: Although he didn't pile up a bunch of yards, Sutton led the team in receptions and targets. A Week 15 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs should have him back in the WR2 conversation.
Denver Broncos LB Todd Davis finished with 15 tackles, including five solo stops, in a 38-24 win over the Houston Texans in Week 14.
Fantasy Spin: Davis has quietly delivered double-digit tackles in five straight games, making him a streaming option for those in the IDP market.
New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith snagged two of his four targets for 29 yards and a touchdown vs. the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Fantasy Spin: Smith missed so much time this year with ankle injury and was set back because of it. He how has scores in two of his last three but has no more than a pair of catches in any of the last five appearances. That kind of involvement is of no use in fantasy playoff lineups.
Denver Broncos CB Kareem Jackson finished with 11 tackles, including six solo stops, an interception, three passes defensed and returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown in a 38-24 win over the Houston Texans in Week 14.
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison had 14 carries for 46 yards in Week 14, adding two receptions for 18 yards in the win. The 16 touches were a new career-high for the rookie as he got a lot of late-game run with the Vikings holding a sizeable lead. Mattison likely won't offer standalone value in the fantasy playoffs, but he remains valuable as a priority handcuff to starter Dalvin Cook.
New Orleans Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. caught four passes for 50 yards on six targets vs. the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Fantasy Spin: Ginn is merely a flier for a cheap touchdown most weeks. With so much at stake in Week 15, he's no better than a weak flex vs. Indy. The Colts gave up six WR scores in the five games entering Week 14 before allowing a trio of TDs to the position against the Bucs.
The Washington Redskins Defense played well enough to hold the Packers to 20 points on Sunday, but the bigger story is that they straight-up could not stop Aaron Jones on the ground. Jones rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and added six receptions for 58 yards. Jones' big day on the ground offset the fact that this Washington defense was largely able to hold Aaron Rodgers in check, as they sacked the Packers quarterback four times, held him to 195 yards and one touchdown through the air, and forced him to lose a fumble. The Redskins remain a risky option for any fantasy owner contending for a league championship, but they're not without upside.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara carried the ball 13 times for 25 yards and caught four of six targets for 18 yards in a 48-46 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. It's fair to wonder if something is wrong health-wise with Kamara, who's been a bust in fantasy this year. It could also be a play-calling issue, as he was seemingly stopped dead in his tracks every time he touched the ball. Whatever it is, he's now gone without a touchdown in eight straight games- an inexplicable streak for someone with his talent. Kamara will look to rebound from this in Week 15 against the Indianapolis Colts, who possess a strong run defense.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson caught his only target for a nine-yard score in the first quarter of Week 14's win over the Detroit Lions. The touchdown was Johnson's third of the year in what has been a productive campaign for the seventh-round rookie out of Colorado State. Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to be back for Week 15's contest against the Los Angeles Chargers, which would result in Johnson's standalone value completely disappearing. He's off the redraft radar for the fantasy playoff home stretch as he simply doesn't receive enough volume.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown on eight targets at the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Fantasy Spin: A 39-yard catch-and-run late in the game set up the Niners for the game-winning kick, and it also helped salvage an otherwise pedestrian fantasy day. Atlanta comes to town in Week 15 with the 10th-weakest defense at stopping tight end yardage in the five weeks leading up to Week 14. Carolina only added to the damage with a backup TE.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Peyton Barber rushed 11 times for 34 yards in Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts and he added two catches for 19 yards on his two targets.
Fantasy Spin: Barber and Ronald Jones split the backfield touches and neither really did anything of significance. Both remain decent low-end RB3 or flex fantasy options heading into Week 15 against the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught six of nine targets for 92 yards in a Week 14 win over the Detroit Lions. Diggs was able to burn Darius Slay for 44 yards on a great sideline grab to set up a Dalvin Cook touchdown before halftime. He did most of his damage in the first half as the Vikings went run-heavy with a big lead in the final two quarters. Diggs will have borderline WR1 appeal in Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers, regardless of the status of Adam Thielen (hamstring).
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard totaled nine stops with a tackle for loss, two passes defensed and two interceptions, including one for an 80-yard touchdown, in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) left the Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams due to a left knee injury. He left for the locker room and will have X-rays, according to NBC Sports sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
Fantasy Spin: With Penny sidelined, Chris Carson figures to see a majority of the workload with C.J. Prosise figuring in on passing downs and as a blocker.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed 33-of-45 passes for 456 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in the Week 14 game against the Indianapolis Colts. He also rushed for five yards and a score.
Fantasy Spin: It was a big game for Winston despite the interceptions, and the rushing score was a nice bonus. He faces another fantastic fantasy option against the leaky pass defense of the Detroit Lions in Week 15.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones rushed 11 times for 36 yards in Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts and he had four grabs for 23 yards on five targets.
Fantasy Spin: Jones is more of a danger in the pass game than on the ground. He remains a decent low-end RB3 or flex fantasy play in PPR leagues heading into Week 15 in Detroit with lesser appeal in standard formats.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon couldn't get anything going in a road loss to the Packers on Sunday. After three straight games of emerging as a preferred option for Dwayne Haskins, Harmon caught just one of four targets at Lambeau. He took the lone reception for 30 yards, but this game has to be viewed as a step back for a young receiver who was starting to carve out a role for himself. There isn't enough time left in the season for Harmon to gain much PPR momentum, likely rendering him a deep-league dart throw at the very best for the final three weeks of 2019.
New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray rushed seven times for 69 yards vs. the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 8. He added two receptions for 25 yards on three looks.
Fantasy Spin: The Saints face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15. A defined role, and the way Alvin Kamara has played in 2019, makes Murray a reasonable play for gamers seeking a touchdown opportunity. The disparity in efficiency is becoming too large to ignore, and Murray has worked his way into weekly flex territory.
Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle ended up with just two catches for 27 yards on six targets in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fantasy Spin: Doyle had a giant performance last week, but he fell back to Earth in this one and was a bit of a fantasy disappointment. He can still be a low-end TE1 heading into New Orleans in Week 15 on MNF.
San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders caught seven passes for 157 yards and a touchdown on nine targets at the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 8. He also threw for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Fantasy Spin: Sanders has not missed a beat -- in fact has become more dangerous -- since joining the Niners, and he's a must-start option vs. the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. Don't get to caught up in the idea of trick passes and possible rushing attempts, as Sanders' nine targets alone should be the draw.