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49ers vs. Cardinals: 5 Halftime Adjustments for the Cardinals to Win

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 27:  Cornerback Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 34-31.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Aron GlatzerAnalyst IDecember 11, 2011

In Week 11, the Arizona Cardinals hung tough in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers, before unraveling in a 23-7 loss on the road.

Now, in Week 14, the Cardinals (5-7) are hoping for different results this time, especially with the 49ers (10-2) being without Patrick Willis.

To upset the already-crowned NFC West champs and overcome a 12-7 deficit at halftime, the Cardinals will need to make these changes in the second half.

 

5. Limit stupid penalties

By horse-collaring Alex Smith on a sack, a 49ers drive was sustained. The result? The first three points in the ballgame.

 

4. Play within John Skelton's strengths

Skelton threw three picks the last time these two teams played. With him entering the game once Kolb was knocked out with a shot to the head, it changes Arizona's game plan offensively. With the defense holding stout in the red zone, it's up to Arizona to do enough offensively to stay in the game.

 

3. Collapse the pocket on Smith

The Cardinals have sacked Smith four times in the first half, after failing to record any in Week 11. The defensive front has done a nice job pushing through on passing downs.

 

2. Get lucky

The Cardinals caught a lucky break when Ken Whisenhunt threw a challenge flag right before a 49ers fake punt completion, nullifying a touchdown. On the very next play, Skelton hit Early Doucet on a 60-yard touchdown reception. It never hurts to be lucky.

 

1. Defense bends but can't break

Keeping the 49ers in check in the red zone to the tune of four opportunities, but only 12 points, keeps Arizona in the game. The defense will need to get it done for four quarters this time, something it couldn't do three weeks ago.

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