Final score of 49ers vs. Cardinals: Kylar Murray, Deandre Hopkins shine as San Francisco of Arizona

The NFC West is already living up to the hype as the NFL’s best division, as the Arizona Cardinals – which had eight wins in the last two seasons – shocked the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday. Kylar Murray became the first Cardinals quarterback in the Super Bowl era to reach 100 yards rushing for some time in the fourth quarter (which was later carried away due to the final second below knee in the formation of Victory) and DeArk Hopkins. Played a career high innings. 14 receptions in his debut with Arizona. The Cardinals won their first season opener since 2015.

Hopkins finished with 151 receiving yards, the eighth time he is receiving 150 yards in a game in his career. His 14 receptions in Week 1 broke the franchise record of 13 catches by Larry FitzGerald, which was set in 2005. Murray finished with 91 rushing yards, which ranked second for the Cardinals quarterback in the Super Bowl era – behind his 93 yards per carry last year.

The 49ers started 8–0 last season and did not lose their first game until Week 10. Now after just one week, they find themselves in the loss column.

Jimmy Garappolo led the NFL with a four-quarterback return last season, but could not find a way to give San Francisco a late win in this one. Gerappolo’s pass to Trent Taylor in the fourth and 5th in the Arizona 16 in the final minute was broken by Buka Baker to break the upset win. Garapolo threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, but the 49ers were widely reduced to receivers, as his players caught just four passes in the afternoon. Rahim Mortert led San Francisco with 151 total yards, including a 76-yard catch to extend San Francisco to 10 points in the first quarter.

We will break down this entire mess in our takeaway below, but you can also get a blow-for-blow breakdown in our live blog at the end of this space.

Why did the cardinals win

The Cardinals clearly won DeAndre Hopkins’ offseason trade, as he took 14 catches in his career debut with the team. Hopkins and quarterback Kylar Murray had an immediate relationship with the team’s first offensive game, as Hopkins grabbed eight catches for 151 yards – going for 34 yards in the final that cost Arizona the San Francisco 1-yard line (Kenyan Drake ) Gave Arizona a 5–20 left to take a 24–20 lead in the next game. Arizona opened the game plan when Murray started using his feet to make plays (he finished with 91 rushing yards), which freed Hopkins in the second half.

Why did the 49ers lose?

The 49ers are the defending NFC champions, but San Francisco vividly missed their entire team of wide receivers in this one. Kendrick Bourne was good, but he could not replace the production of Debo Samuel (on short-term injured reserve). The San Francisco wide receiver finished with just four catches a day, where first-round pick Brandon Ayuk was inactive. Kyle Shanahan was creative in finding ways to get Rahim Mortert the ball into space, but the 49ers missed a significant part of their offense without a consistent outside presence. A quarter-blocked punt on special teams by Arizona certainly ignited the Cardinals 10–0 with San Francisco already.


About that blocked punt … San Francisco led 10-0 at its first 31-yard line with 7:05 when Ezekiel Turner blocked the punt, and Dennis Gardeke at the 49th 10-yard line Recovered. On the next play the Cardinals scored a touchdown, as Kylar Murray found Chase Edmonds on a pass in a will offense. All of a sudden Arizona was down 10-7 in a game at the time in San Francisco.

Game play

Murray’s 34-yard pass to Hopkins put the Cardinals in a position to score in the scoredown to win. Hopkins demonstrated why Arizona executed a trade and then made it the highest-paid wide receiver in football. On a quick pass to Hopkins’ third-and-6, the yards-after-the-monster worked the rest to get the Cardinals. Cardinals fans are going to love Hopkins.


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Arizona will host Washington as the Cardinals finish 1-0 in the NFC West. San Francisco will look to avoid 0–2 in Week 2 when the 49ers travel to New York to face the Vets.