There is a flip side to the breakout season of Trey McBride. The Cardinals wide receivers aren't in a good spot. Even Kyler Murray knows that.
"Keep trying to find ways to get those guys the ball," the quarterback said, after the entire corps had just four receptions out of his 26 completions in the loss to the 49ers. "We have to go back, and that's something I can get better about, and as a whole with the offense, find ways to get those guys the ball.
"I know it's frustrating. Hell, I'm frustrated for them."
Michael Wilson was back in the lineup, but he had no catches on three targets. Hollywood Brown, who said the plan was for him to play intermittently anyway with his bad heel, eventually had to shut it down and wasn't targeted at all.
"If I can go, I'll go," Brown said. "If I can't, I can't."
It's understandable that, assuming Marvin Harrison Jr. comes out for the draft, there are plenty clamoring for him to be the Cardinals' top pick in the draft. In the previous game, the win in Pittsburgh, wideouts had just two catches (of Murray's 13 completions.)
As good as McBride has been – and he's been really, really good – the Cardinals need production from a wideout or two.
-- McBride officially broke the franchise record for tight end catches in a season with his first on Sunday. Then he added nine more, putting him at 66 with three games left.
"That's really cool," McBride said. "Like I said, there are a lot of great tight ends that have played in the organization and to be up there with those guys and break the record is very cool. Very special to me.
"But really, that's not what I'm focused on. I could care less about that, truthfully. I just want to win."
-- It was a rough departure from the game by veteran tight end Geoff Swaim, who was carted to the locker room with a calf injury that looked non-contact when it happened. Swaim has been excellent in the run game this season and is a nice compliment to McBride. Before he went down, Swaim also got a 26-yard catch when a throw intended for McBride – who was interfered with on the play – ricocheted off McBride and into Swaim's right-place-right-time hands.
-- With Antonio Hamilton back and healthy, the Cardinals inserted the veteran into the starting lineup with rookies Starling Thomas V and Garrett Williams at cornerback.
-- Stop if you have heard this before: Matt Prater bombed a long field goal. It was well-timed too – the Cardinals had fallen behind, 14-7, after a pick-6 and their ensuing "drive" bogged down on third-and-very-long. But Prater came out to easily make a 58-yarder, his eighth field goal of at least 50 yards this season and his fifth of at least 55 yards.
-- Interesting sequence in the first half, with the Cardinals facing a third-and-1 at the SF 45. Instead of bringing in QB sneaker Clayton Tune, Kyler Murray was under center. A handoff to James Conner was stuffed at the line. On fourth down, Tune time? No. Kyler still in, Kyler still under center, and this time, Conner bulled ahead for two yards and the first down.
-- For a third straight game, the Cardinals registered no sacks.
-- Ultimately, it was the right call. But when Joey Blount scooped up and scored after the Greg Dortch forced fumble on the Niners punt return late in the first half, it was a gut punch when it was overturned on replay. Maybe it doesn't change the outcome, but it would've been fun to see what happened if it had stood.
-- Prior to Murray's final TD pass – which was the first career score by rookie tight end Elijah Higgins – he scrambled near his own sideline before throwing an incompletion in the end zone. He was given a pop by 49ers defensive back Isaiah Oliver. Not late (it wasn't flagged) but it didn't make big Will Hernandez happy. The guard, all 300-something pounds of him, got up in Oliver's face as Murray lay prone, making sure he had his QB's back. Always good to see.
-- Murray left the game for a handful of plays when he was hit on a throw and took a hard elbow … right where a guy doesn't want to take a hard elbow. So of course I wanted to ask him about it.
"I don't wish that on anybody," Murray said, before pausing. "You want me to expound on that?"
No Kyler, we're good. That's all for tonight.