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Watt A Night For The Cardinals, And 49ers Aftermath

His numbers don't look great – 29 yards on 10 carries, with a long of 8 yards – but James Conner was doing his job, and in a lot of ways, was the symbol of Sunday's win over the 49ers.

This was a defensive game for the Cards, don't get it twisted. J.J. Watt was a wrecking ball. Isaiah Simmons is such an important piece, the unit had four fourth-down stops and the banged-up cornerback room did enough. But at game's end, with 4:12 on the clock and the Cardinals nursing a 17-10 lead, the Cards did what they couldn't do against the Vikings – salt the game away without giving the Niners a last chance.

DeAndre Hopkins was in there with a big 11-yard catch, but there was Conner, bulling his way first for two yards to get the clock started, and then finishing up with his eight-yard run and a four-yarder to get the last first down needed.

Conner, of course, is a man who has battled cancer, hard not to remember during this Crucial Catch game. On top of that, he attended a family funeral earlier in the week, no doubt dealing with grief there. But he is the battering ram the Cards needed, especially in this throw-back-type of game, with teammate Chase Edmonds dealing with a sore shoulder.

No, I don't think the Cardinals are going undefeated. But they will win plenty, and they now have shown themselves another new look – a team that can win that gritty game, a game in which the offense doesn't look like it's normal explosive self.

-- The offense isn't always going to go for 30-400. But Kyler Murray -- who was "frustrated again" -- still was pretty good. That 49ers defense is pretty good too. He made plays when he needed to. So did Nuk.

-- I'm crushed for Maxx Williams. You will not find a better dude. He worked so hard to be healthy this season. This isn't injury-prone. This is sheer bad luck. He was such a huge part of the offense and now, what happens? I'd think the Cardinals already were considering options to help at cornerback, so do they look tight end too?

-- No, I don't think Larry Fitzgerald is coming back to play tight end.

-- Losing Rodney Hudson for any amount of time wouldn't be good either, but at least Max Garcia is a solid backup. That's another injury with which to watch.

-- Trey Lance is going to be a problem for this division if he can find a way to corral his accuracy. It's early, so we will see. But the way he was running that Cam Newton-like offense, I mean, maybe he won't be able to do it for 15 years, but in the short-term, it'll be an issue.

-- Watching Isaiah Simmons go sideline-to-sideline to corral runners, especially Lance on Sunday and especially on that goal line hit, is something to behold. The man is so freaking fast and he hits like an old-school thumper linebacker.

-- Best game for Watt, easy. I can't believe he didn't get a sack, but he was credited with three hurries and a pass deflection and it seemed to be so much more than that. He and Chandler Jones drew some penalties too. Watt won't win Defensive Player of the Week, but after what he did and what the Cardinals did, I think he at least should be in the conversation.

-- Chase Edmonds' lost fumble was the Cardinals' first lost fumble of the season.

-- The Cards should have had a 14-0 lead, but somehow Murray and Hopkins couldn't connect with Hop wide-open at the goal line before Matt Prater's field goal. And it stinks that the Cardinals had to do the hurry-up field-goal try at the end of the first half – I would've liked to see Prater from 61 when he had time to set up.

-- The Browns, on the road, are next. The Cardinals' health will be something to watch. The Kyler-Baker Mayfield storyline will be a thing. So too will the Cards' undefeated status. I was 4 years old the last time it happened. Kliff Kingsbury wasn't born yet.

That's it for tonight.

J.J. Watt runs off the field in triumph after Cardinals beat the 49ers in 2021 home game