The San Francisco 49ers took advantage of a strong fourth quarter to put away the Arizona Cardinals and earn a third straight victory, but it didn't always look easy. After entering the last quarter of the game with a 22-20 lead, the 49ers took control of the running game and earned a 32-20 win.
Prior to the fourth quarter, Alex Mann of SB Nation's Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds, described the team's performance as dominant, at times:
Arizona entered this game as the underdogs, and they played like it... at the start and the end. But for the vast majority of the middle portion of the game, Arizona dominated. They controlled the line of scrimmage, Palmer hooked up with his receivers when he needed to... It was the offense we were all dreaming of... That is until it all came falling down.
It all came falling down when the 49ers took control with a bulldozing drive of 18 plays that resulted in a 6-yard rushing touchdown for Kendall Hunter. With a nine-point deficit, the Cardinals fumbled on the ensuing possession, dashing any remaining hopes for a comeback.
The physical quarter for the 49ers was a welcomed sight for David Fucillo of SB Nation's 49ers blog, Niners Nation:
The 49ers entered the game as 11-point favorites, but the Cardinals gave them all they could handle the first three quarters. Colin Kaepernick was able to connect repeatedly with Vernon Davis, but the rest of the offense struggled, and the 49ers could not pull away from Arizona. Heading into the fourth quarter, the 49ers found themselves leading only 22-20. Fortunately, the team discovered its physical identity.