Rewind: Arizona Cardinals' season ends with blowout loss to San Francisco 49ers

The Arizona Cardinals face the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in NFL Week 18, Arizona's final game of the season. Follow our score updates and analysis on the game below.

The Cardinals' 2022 season is mercifully over.

They finished 4-13 after falling to the San Francisco 49ers 38-13 for their seventh loss in a row Sunday at Levi's Stadium. J.J. Watt had two sacks in what is more than likely the final game of his NFL career, and played the entire game until getting a moment to walk off the field at the two-minute warning.

A.J. Green had three catches for 91 yards including a 77-yard touchdown early in the game, in possibly the last of his career.

David Blough threw for a touchdown with two interceptions, and lost a fumble. Trace McSorley threw an interception.

Big decisions are still to come. The fate of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim could be decided very soon. Kingsbury, the Cardinals announced, was scheduled to meet with media Monday afternoon at team facility, with players arriving well before that for their last time together for this season.

The silver lining of Sunday was this: The Cardinals landed the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, with Denver's win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Trace McSorley gets another chance

The Cardinals turned to Trace McSorley at quarterback just before the end of the third quarter after David Blough went into the medical tent to be looked at.

Josh Jones just left the game and Cody Ford is in at tackle. One quarter to go in this Cardinals season.

In Denver, Broncos helping Cardinals

The Denver Broncos held a 24-20 lead over the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers, with a win for Denver knocking it out of the third overall pick and handing it to the Cardinals if Arizona loses.

The Cardinals trailed 31-13 with 5:47 to go in the third quarter. The Broncos' pick actually belongs to the Seattle Seahawks, as part of the trade for Russell Wilson before this season.

Blough was sacked with 4:13 left in the third, and lost the ball for his third turnover of the day.

49ers in control

The 49ers made it 28-13 on another Elijah Mitchell touchdown run early in the third quarter. The Cardinals sure look headed to the third 13-loss season of their 35-season Arizona era.

David Blough has thrown two interceptions, overthrowing Hollywood Brown again with 10:23 left in the third quarter for a turnover.

One thing can be said about 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy - he looks very sure of himself out there and doesn't make big mistakes. Wonder what the 49ers saw that other teams did not. Regardless, the question is, can Purdy lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl? Good defense, lots of playmakers on offense, it would be something to see them in Glendale on Feb. 12.

Kittle wins battle vs. Simmons

George Kittle's touchdown catch in which he tip-toed and got his two feet in the end zone against the coverage of the Cardinals' Isaiah Simmons, gave the 49ers a 21-13 lead with 19 seconds to go in the first half.

The Cardinals' defense has had some moments, but the 49ers have been able to move the ball for the most part. It goes to halftime with San Francisco up by eight.

Arizona quarterback David Blough is 12 of 14 for 164 yards, 77 to A.J. Green earlier in the game. He has an interception and touchdown pas.

A Cardinals touchdown drive, 6 for Clement

The Cardinals made it 14-13 with 4:41 to go in the second quarter, as Corey Clement ran in for a one-yard touchdown. It's Clement's first since 2020 when he was a Philadelphia Eagle.

Clement has eight rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores in six NFL seasons. He'd spent time on the Cardinals' practice squad earlier this season, but found himself as a starter Sunday due to injuries.

49ers go up 8

The 49ers took advantage of an interception deep in Cardinals territory, with Elijah Mitchell running five yards for a touchdown. San Francisco took a 14-6 lead with 12:07 to play in the first half.

David Blough was trying to throw downfield to Hollywood Brown, but overthrew him and was picked off.

A sack for J.J. Watt? Of course

Midway through the first quarter, J.J. Watt sacked Brock Purdy after overpowering 49ers guard Spencer Burford. That's 11.5 sacks on the season for Watt. He records one in his last game in the NFL.

On the FOX broadcast, Watt's high school coach in Wisconsin had a message for Watt via video. Watt took a bow after the sack.

A.J. Green scores on trick play

The Cardinals scored a touchdown just 26 seconds into the game. A.J. Green caught a deep ball from David Blough and muscled his way up the field for his second TD of the season. If this is Green's last NFL game, what a way to go out.

Our Bob McManaman suggested early in the week that Green be the primary receiving target for the Cardinals today, just to help him go out with a bang. Still plenty of time to play for Green to have a big day.

As this was written, the 49ers marched down the field quickly and scored on former Gilbert Perry star Brock Purdy's screen pass to Christian McCaffrey, who took it to the end zone. 7-6 SF with 10:40 to go in the first.

Cardinals 2023 schedule set; Top of draft shakeup

The Cardinals' 2023 list of opponents is set following the results of Sunday's early games. The team will play nine road games and eight at home. There will be a lot of travel with four Eastern time zone trips and two in Central time.

Also, Houston's comeback win over Indianapolis ensure that the Chicago Bears, who lost Sunday to Minnesota, moved into the top spot for the No. 1 overall draft pick this offseason. The Texans dropped to No. 2.

The Cardinals hold the fourth pick for the moment but can move to third or drop to as low as sixth.

Inactives vs. 49ers

Here is the list of inactive players for the Cardinals. Of note, DeAndre Hopkins could have already played his last game in an Arizona uniform, should a trade as part of a potential Cardinals rebuild happen in the offseason.

Kelvin Beachum and Jalen Thompson become the only two players to start all 17 games for the Cardinals.

Setting up Sunday at San Francisco

The Cardinals' 2022 season has at last, to the relief of many, come to an end. The team's finale at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., has several implications.

For the Cardinals, it is the final game of longtime star NFL defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who announced his retirement a few weeks ago. Watt is the player to watch Sunday for the Cardinals. He plays with so much emotion and this is an emotional day for Watt and his family.

Wide receiver A.J. Green spoke to reporters this week about his possible retirement. He's also been to multiple Pro Bowls and been a top receiver in the NFL, and might also be playing in his last game ever. This could also be the final games in Cardinals uniforms for a number of free-agents-to-be.

Beyond that, it's a waiting game to see what Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill decides as far as the employment status of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim, plus Kingsbury's assistant coaches. A loss will give Arizona its third-lowest winning percentage in 35 seasons in the state. Was the high amount of drama and mishaps and bad luck in 2022 enough for Bidwill to make sweeping changes?

All that is left to do is end the season and watch whatever happens unfold.

For the 49ers, of course, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs is on the line. They'll need help to get it even if they win, but their path toward a possible Super Bowl in the Phoenix area next month starts as soon as next weekend.

How to watch Cardinals vs. 49ers

The game can be seen at 2:25 p.m. on Fox.

Chris Myers (play-by-play) and Robert Smith (analyst) will be in the broadcast booth.

Jen Hale will be the sideline reporter.

Cardinals vs. 49ers odds

The 49ers are a 14-point favorite in the game.

The 49ers are -1200 on the money line in the game.

The Cardinals are +800.

The over/under for the game is set at 40 points.

Cardinals vs. 49ers picks

Most sites are predicting that the 49ers will win the game, at they have San Francisco covering the point spread.

The Arizona Republic's Jeremy Cluff predicted a final score of 49ers 27, Cardinals 10 in his NFL Week 18 picks and predictions.

The Arizona Cardinals conclude their season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium.
The Arizona Cardinals conclude their season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM. 

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Rewind: Arizona Cardinals' season ends with blowout loss to San Francisco 49ers