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CARDINALS WIN! 3 big takeaways from road victory over 49ers

CARDINALS WIN! 3 big takeaways from road victory over 49ers
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 06:29:19-05

The Arizona Cardinals did enough in the Bay Area to climb back to .500 ahead of Thursday night's showdown with the Seahawks.

Thanks to Adrian Peterson, a dominant defensive performance and a good-enough effort from their backup quarterback, the Cardinals beat the winless 49ers 20-10 in Santa Clara, California to improve to 4-4 on the season.

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Here are three big takeaways from the win.

1. Peterson puts the Cards on his back

Adrian Peterson wowed Cardinals fans in his debut three weeks ago vs. Tampa Bay (134 yards, two touchdowns), but he managed just 21 yards in the Cards' shutout loss to the Rams in London two weeks ago.

Well, the dominant version of the man they call "All Day" returned Sunday, and he carved up the 49ers to the tune of 159 yards on the ground. He set a personal single-game record by carrying the ball 37 times in the win, breaking his previous record of 35. His 36th carry went for a 25-yard gain and sealed the Cardinals' victory.

2. Defense makes Niners pay

The Cardinals got after rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard early and often Sunday. For the game, Beathard was sacked five times, and he threw a late interception deep in Arizona territory.

In the first quarter, safety Tyrann Mathieu forced a fumble that led to a big return by Patrick Peterson and set up the Cardinals' first touchdown of the game. Simply put, the Cardinals' defense did what they were supposed to do to one of the worst teams in the NFL.

3. Drew does enough

In his first start this season filling in for injured starter Carson Palmer, backup QB Drew Stanton was sharp in the first half, and that proved to be enough to help get the Cards over the hump.

Stanton threw two touchdown passes in the game, including a nice throw to Jaron Brown following that 49ers' fumble to give Arizona an early 7-0 lead. His second TD toss was to tight end Jermaine Gresham to give the Cards a 14-3 edge in the second quarter.

For the game, Stanton completed 15 of 30 passes for 201 yards, though he did throw an interception in the end zone in the second half. But thanks to Adrian Peterson and the defense, Drew's performance was good enough Sunday in Santa Clara.