Thursday's roundup: Cards capitalize on 49ers mistakes to win
Santa Clara Calif. — With Carson Palmer sidelined by a concussion, the one-win Arizona Cardinals turned to Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson and an opportunistic defense for a much-needed victory.
Drew Stanton threw two touchdown passes to Fitzgerald in the quarterback’s first start in two years, Johnson ran for two scores and the Cardinals capitalized on San Francisco mistakes to beat the 49ers 33-21 on Thursday night.
“We were a hungry team, a team that knows that we dug a hole for ourselves and we had to win this game,” coach Bruce Arians said.
The Cardinals (2-3) got 17 points off three turnovers by the 49ers (1-4) — two interceptions by Blaine Gabbert and a fumbled kickoff return by Chris Davis — and also had one drive extended by a running-into-the-kicker penalty.
Those three scoring drives totaled just 41 yards, but proved to be enough to beat the sloppy 49ers as the Cardinals survived a week with without Palmer out with a concussion.
“I don’t think anybody played well on offense. Nobody,” Niners coach Chip Kelly said. “I don’t think we protected well enough, I don’t think we threw it well enough and we had too many drops and two interceptions.”
Stanton didn’t produce much, going 11 for 27 for 124 yards. But Arizona didn’t turn the ball over and got 157 yards rushing from Johnson to get the win. Johnson added 28 yards receiving, and Fitzgerald caught six passes for 81 yards as that duo combined to gain 266 of the team’s 288 yards from scrimmage.
The defense did the rest with the two interceptions and seven sacks.
“We’ve been saying all week it just starts with one. Just get one win and try to stack them,” defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “We’ve been a team in the past that can rip off a bunch of them. … Now we have to figure out what we can do to keep that ball rolling.”
Anderson preps for Panthers
Derek Anderson is preparing as if he will start for the Panthers on Monday night against the Buccaneers with Cam Newton still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
The 33-year-old Anderson took reps with Carolina’s first-team offense for the second straight day, while Newton did not attend the team’s outdoor practice.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera offered little in terms of an update on Newton’s playing status, saying he won’t make a decision on the 2015 MVP until later this week.
“We are not forcing players to get onto the football field,” Rivera said emphatically Thursday. “We will do exactly as the protocol tells us and what the doctors and experts tell us.”
NFL officials still are investigating how the Panthers handled a helmet-to-helmet hit Newton took in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to the Broncos. Newton stayed in and completed that game despite a ferocious blow to the head.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no update on that investigation.
Newton was one of six starters who didn’t practice Thursday.
Running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), left tackle Michael Oher (concussion), defensive end Charles Johnson (quad), linebacker Thomas Davis (hamstring) and cornerback James Bradberry (foot) also sat out. Six other starters, including wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., were limited in practice as the injuries continue to mount for the struggling Panthers (1-3).
The Panthers have “absolute confidence” in Anderson should he be pressed into a starting role, according to Rivera.
Anderson is 20-25 as an NFL starter, but 2-0 since joining the Panthers six years ago. Coincidentally, both of those wins came against the Buccaneers in 2014.
Bills safety Robert Blanton says the NFL fined him $21,000 and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman says he was fined $10,000 for their involvement in a pregame, on-field altercation with members of the Patriots last weekend. Safety Aaron Williams also was fined, but wouldn’t reveal how much.
It’s unclear whether the NFL fined any of the Patriots players involved. Several punches were thrown during a shoving match between players and coaches that erupted about an hour before kickoff.
... The Falcons were penalized by the NFL for having excessive contact in offseason workouts.
The Falcons must forfeit their first three days of organized team activities in 2017 as punishment for a workout in May.
The 49ers removed linebacker Aaron Lynch from the roster exemption list and placed linebacker NaVorro Bowman (Achilles tendon) on injured reserve.
... Former Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman has pleaded guilty to hit and run and vehicular assault in connection with a car crash last year that injured another driver.