Rookie Josh Rosen threw a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage as the Arizona Cardinals forced five turnovers and ended their season-opening four-game losing streak by recording a 28-18 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.
Rosen’s first pass of his second career start was a long strike down the middle to Christian Kirk, who easily raced down the middle of the field with 9:39 remaining to give Arizona (1-4) the lead. The Cardinals scored 10 seconds after Matt Brieda’s 5-yard reception opened the scoring, but the 49ers botched the extra-point attempt.
“It shows how mentally tough we are,” Arizona safety Tre Boston said. “An 0-and-4 team, if you’re not mentally tough, and you don’t believe in your process, you lose that game right there. You see yourself in the same predicament you’ve been in and you see yourself losing. That’s not us. We saw ourselves winning.”
Rosen completed 10 of 25 passes for 170 yards as the Cardinals grinded out their first win under new coach Steve Wilks despite getting 10 first downs, allowing 33 first downs and maintaining possession for 19:48.
Arizona avoided its first 0-5 start since 1986 when the franchise was based in St. Louis and played in the NFC East.
“It might have been something different every single play,” Rosen said of the inconsistent accuracy. “We’ll see (Monday). But all I care about is this win. I’m pretty happy we got the first one.”
Arizona’s other TDs occurred on a fumble return by Josh Bynes for a score and two short runs by David Johnson following San Francisco turnovers.
Patrick Peterson recovered Raheem Mostert’s fumble and returned it 49 yards early in the second quarter. Four plays later, Johnson scored from two yards out to make 14-6.
Trent Taylor made it 14-12 on a 1-yard reception but the 49ers missed the two-point conversion with 6:51 left in the fourth quarter.
Bynes added to the lead with a 23-yard fumble recovery a little over two minutes later and Johnson scored from six yards out to secure Arizona’s seventh straight win over the 49ers.
C.J. Beathard scored from one yard out in the final two minutes but it was too late as San Francisco dropped to 1-12 in the last two seasons without Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting the quarterback.
Beathard completed 34-of-54 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted twice, fumbled twice and sacked four times.
Kirk led all receivers with 85 catches on three catches. Greg Kittle led the 49ers with five catches and 83 yards.
San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould endured a rough outing. Besides not being able to attempt the PAT because of the botched extra-point attempt, he also missed wide right from 45 yards out, snapping his team-record streak of 33 straight field goals.
The 49ers also lost Breida to an injured ankle in the first quarter. He finished with eight carries on 56 yards before exiting.