SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said he was trying to win the game with an all-out blitz call late in Sunday’s game, but it was the 49ers who used it as a springboard for the victory.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was able to get a pass off before the pressure got to him and running back Jeff Wilson hauled it in for a 25-yard score. The touchdown gave the 49ers the 30-26 lead with 31 seconds remaining in an eventual 36-26 victory.
“We were trying to win a game,” Joseph said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Safety Budda Baker, linebacker Haason Reddick and linebacker Jordan Hicks all blitzed into the backfield, as Joseph was hoping a sack could give the 49ers a difficult field goal attempt as time winded down.
Outside linebacker Chandler Jones, who is one of the best pass-rushers in the league, dropped into coverage when Wilson went out for the pass but was unable to stick with the faster skill player.
“I tried to make the attempted tackle,” Jones said. “Once I saw that I was beat, I made an attempt to tackle him. It wasn’t a slip. I knew I had him. It was a good play.”
Jones didn’t have an opinion on the play-call, saying he is relayed the play and tries to execute his assignment. Joseph said Jones wasn’t automatically going to drop into coverage but had to peel off once the running back headed downfield.
“I want to always rush Chandler, but sometimes you have to do that with certain pressures,” Joseph said. “It didn’t work, so that’s my fault.”
Joseph was aggressive on the series before when the Cardinals came up with an interception and kept it up on the decisive drive.
“He was moving the ball,” Joseph said. “We weren’t getting much pressure on the guy. I was trying to generate pressure. We had a guy (rushing) free and Jimmy made a play off his back leg.”
JALEN THOMPSON NABS FIRST INTERCEPTION
Safety Jalen Thompson put the Cardinals in a great position to grab the win by picking off Garoppolo on the possession before. It was the first interception in the career of the rookie fifth-round compensatory pick.
The pass was tipped in the air and Thompson swooped under it. The Cardinals had a three-point lead at the time and San Francisco was driving at least for the tying field goal attempt.
“It’s just a blessing to go out there and help my team in some way,” Thompson said.
At the time, Thompson was hoping that would be the play to wrap up the win, but the 49ers rallied.
“I thought we could pull it out,” Thompson said. “Obviously we just have to finish better.”
JORDAN HICKS STUFFS THE STAT SHEET
Hicks was one of the Cardinals’ marquee free agent signings and he has done a nice job of living up to the billing. Hicks finished the contest with 12 tackles, a sack, an interception and two tackles for loss.
He came up with a key interception late in the third quarter to keep the Cardinals in the game as San Francisco seemed to be taking control. Hicks surpassed 100 tackles on the season early in the contest.