Running back Beanie Wells hauls in a 43-yard pass early in Monday night's 27-6 loss to the 49ers.
The play derailed things quickly for the Cardinals.
They had held up the 49ers on the first drive and San Francisco replacement kicker Shane Andrus missed a field goal. But on the Cards' first offensive snap, quarterback Derek Anderson and running back Beanie Wells couldn't connect on a handoff.
The botched delivery turned into a fumble recovered by the 49ers, who then struck for a 38-yard touchdown pass from Troy Smith to Michael Crabtree on the very next play.
"It hit my elbow when I was coming across," Wells said. "It never got it in my hand."
"I put it out there, I don't know why (it was fumbled)," Anderson said.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt also said he couldn't see what happened despite looking at a replay. "We obviously can't do that," Whisenhunt said.
Wells did come up with a big play later in the first quarter, hauling in a 43-yard pass from Anderson. It led to the Cards' first field goal. Wells had a quiet night after that, finishing with 13 yards on five carries.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who needed eight receptions to tie Anquan Boldin for the most in franchise history, got half that Monday. He had 37 yards on those four catches, but a fifth would have meant a key touchdown, had Fitzgerald been able to hang on.
Trailing 21-3, Fitzgerald looked like he hauled in an 18-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. But after leaping to grab it, he landed hard – and the ball squirted loose.
"I had the opportunity to make a big play for our team and I didn't do it," Fitzgerald said quietly.
"I hit the ground and I didn't maintain possession. Something I can't allow to happen."
Anderson had said the moment caught by ESPN cameras of he and guard Deuce Lutui talking and smiling was about Lutui just trying to keep things positive. Lutui echoed that notion.
"I told him, 'Hey, I'm with you to the depths. You understand that?' " Lutui said. "It was that kind of thing given the deficit of the game. We have to have the mindset that we stick together.
"It was a personal thing. It was nothing we need to joke around about, us being down. It was merely, 'Let's pick up the pace. I got your back. Let's go.' "
Linebacker Paris Lenon left the game with a bruised right knee. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett also left the game with a shoulder stinger, but he did return.
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