49ers vs. Cardinals: San Francisco Week 5 Game Balls & Highlights

We hand out a pair of game balls to the San Francisco 49ers from the Niners’ 28-18 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 of the 2018 NFL regular season.

On yesterday’s Locked On 49ers Podcast, host Brian Peacock provided a rundown of the Niners’ game — including game notes and key takeaways — and handed out two game balls from the San Francisco 49ers’ home loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 of the 2018 NFL regular season.

Sunday may have been the low point of the 49ers’ season, and perhaps the “Lynchahan” era, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have game balls to hand out — especially in a game where the Niners dominated their opponent in every major statistic, except for turnover margin and the final score:

49ers RB Matt Breida

49ers fans got a glimpse of how important starting running back Matt Breida is to San Francisco’s offense when the dual-threat back was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury late in the first quarter. Before his injury, Breida scored the Niners’ lone touchdown on a five-yard reception, and ran for 56 yards on eight rushing attempts. Once Breida left the game, running back Alfred Morris and part-time RB Raheem Mostert managed just three yards per carry and 72 total rushing yards over the remainder of the game. Mostert also committed a key fumble in Cardinals territory on his first rushhing attempt.

Breida continues to lead the NFL with a 7.5 yards-per-rush average, and even after missing the majority of Week 5, and splitting time with Morris over the first four games of the season, Breida still ranks fifth in the league with 369 rushing yards. Although Breida’s injury was originally diagnosed as a potential high-ankle sprain, an MRI on Monday revealed the second-year back suffered a milder mid-ankle sprain. Still, Breida is doubtful for Monday’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers, so the 49ers will likely be forced to play without one of the most important pieces of their offensive unit in Week 6:


49ers DT DeForest Buckner

49ers 3-technique defensive tackle DeForest Buckner continues to be a force in the middle of San Francisco’s defensive line, and opposing offensive coordinators have certainly taken notice. Offensive game planning against the 6-foot-7, 300-pound defensive lineman has become a common occurrence over the course of the 2018 NFL regular season, and Sunday’s Week 5 matchup with the Cardinals was no different.

Even with Arizona’s offense focusing on the 49ers’ top defensive lineman, Buckner was still able to wreck havoc against Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Per Pro Football Focus, Buckner led San Francisco’s defense in quarterback pressures, hits and hurries, which forced the rookie QB into throwing a number of errant passes either into the ground or toward empty areas of the field. In the run game, Buckner also led the 49ers in tackles, including a tackle for loss. Although it didn’t show up in the stat sheet, Buckner’s presence in the middle of the 49ers’ defense provided the opportunity for fellow defensive tackles Earl Mitchel and Sheldon Day to have their best games of the 2018 season:

Listen to Locked On 49ers host Brian Peacock’s review of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals — including game notes and key takeaways from the Niners’ second home game of the season — on yesterday’s Rapid React podcast:

About the Author: Chris Wilson

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