Wide receiver Michael Floyd goes high to haul in a 44-yard pass Sunday to reach 1,000 yards on the season.
For a group which took its lumps early on, the Cardinals' offense ended the year with some pretty impressive individual numbers.
Quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 407 yards in Sunday's 23-20 loss to the 49ers and finished with a career-high 4,274 yards on the season, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to surpass 4,000 on three different teams. He did so last year with the Raiders and with the Bengals in 2006 and 2007.
Rookie running back Andre Ellington had 30 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving, surpassing 1,000 all-purpose yards. Wide
receiver Michael Floyd caught six passes for 91 yards, going over 1,000 receiving yards on a 44-yard grab in the third quarter.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 113 yards, finishing with 954 yards receiving. The Cardinals went 6-2 in the second half of the season, and the progression of the offense was an important factor.
"There are a lot of things I learned as the season went on," Palmer said. "There are a lot of experiences within certain plays and within certain protections for sure I kind of figured out, and there are things you don't figure out sitting in a classroom and it being drawn up on a chalkboard. There are things you experience. This offense is something that can be very dangerous going into year two."
Floyd and Ellington are both only 24 years old, so their futures seem bright.
"It's kind of like when you lay your foundation and you can build upon it," Ellington said. "We have a great thing going here."
ALAMEDA TA'AMU LIKELY HAS TORN ACL
Nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu likely tore his ACL in the second quarter. He will have an MRI on Monday, but could be looking at a lengthy rehabilitation.
"We don't know how long that injury is going to last," coach Bruce Arians said. "Again, when young guys get hurt in December, it's tough to get them back by September."
Ta'amu's platoon partner, Dan Williams, saw an increase in snaps following the injury and he played well except for a roughing the passer penalty. Williams registered his first career sack and deflected a pass. He helped limit 49ers running back Frank Gore to only 14 yards rushing on 13 carries.
"My whole thing is, I've been ready for this all year," Williams said. "Just to get the opportunity to play more – just step up. I have always carried the load, but having a guy like 'Meda on the team, you can't keep a guy like that on the sidelines. When he went down it was my job to step up."
ANQUAN BOLDIN BITES THE CARDINALS
Cardinals fans saw a familiar sight in the first quarter, as the team's former star receiver, Anquan Boldin, hauled in six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and took an end around for 11 yards.
He finished the day with nine catches for 149 yards, including a key grab to set up San Francisco's game-winning field goal. Boldin's longest reception came on a simple crossing pattern when he shook off an attempted tackle by Jerraud Powers and ran 63 yards to set up a Vernon Davis 3-yard touchdown reception.
"What a football player," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "You can sum him up right there: Football player. That pretty much summarizes everything good that you can say about a football player. He's all of it. Leadership, big-play ability, competitiveness. Competitive always. Great talent."
Said Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, "He got a lot of (yards after the catch) yards today. We have to be able to tackle better. He's a primetime player and he made some primetime plays today."
UP AND DOWN DAY FOR KICKERS
Jay Feely was 2-for-4 on field goals after missing only four in the first 15 games of the season. The Cardinals' kicker missed a 37-yarder in the first quarter and then 43-yarder in the fourth quarter, both wide right.
"You just got to make those kicks," Feely said. "No excuse, no reason not to."
He did rebound to hit a 43-yard attempt to tie the game at 20 with 29 seconds remaining.
49ers kicker Phil Dawson missed a 24-yard attempt at the end of the first half to snap a streak of 27 straight successful field goals, but rebounded to hit a 56-yarder and the game-winning 40-yarder in the final 1:45 of regulation.
"I saw him on the wrong side of these things in Cleveland for so many years and having been with Phil, I didn't think he'd miss the kick," Arians said.