It turns out that no matter the result of their game on Sunday, there was nothing that the Arizona Cardinals could do to help their playoff chances. With the New Orleans Saints building a huge lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cardinals fate was sealed. Still, they fought to the bitter end, which happened to be a game-winning 40-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. That dropped the Cardinals to 10-6 as the Niners won 23-20.
San Francisco improves to 12-4 and they will be the number five seed in the AFC, and will face the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round.
Though Arizona's 10-6 record is among their best in franchise history, the Cardinals simply could not do enough to make the playoffs. They had won seven of their previous eight games, but even if they had won another, Arizona would be on the outside looking in. Instead, the 49ers hold off the New Orleans Saints for the number five seed, since the Seattle Seahawks won on Sunday to lock up the NFC West.
San Francisco is headed to the playoffs for the third time under Jim Harbaugh in three years. For the Cardinals' Bruce Arians, he'll have to wait at least one more year to do that with Arizona, but it was a very valiant effort.
Fantasy Studs and Duds
Carson Palmer threw for 407 yards for Arizona with two touchdowns and an interception. Larry Fitzgerald had 113 yards, Michael Floyd had 91 yards, and Andre Roberts caught a touchdown. But Rashard Mendenhall had 47 yards and a fumble.
Did They Cover?
The Cardinals were 3-point favorites, per OddsShark.com, so they did not cover.