Sep 17, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals facing red-hot Brock Purdy as they visit 49ers

At this time a year ago, there would have been laughter if someone had predicted the starting quarterbacks when the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers meet for the first time in 2023 would be Joshua Dobbs and Brock Purdy.

But that’s what it will be Sunday when the Cardinals (1-2), coming off a stunning 28-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, travel to Santa Clara to play the undefeated 49ers (3-0) in Levi’s Stadium.

Purdy, who has won eight consecutive regular-season games after becoming the starter in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo last season, has had a passer rating of at least 90 in all his starts and is currently fourth in the NFL with a 106.3 rating.

Dobbs, who had started only two games before 2023 in a career that began in 2017, isn’t far back at 98.1. He was on the winning side for the first time against the Cowboys, which was the one-month anniversary of the Aug. 24 trade that took him from Cleveland to Arizona.

Purdy and Dobbs are two of only four opening-day quarterbacks in the league who don’t have an interception after three games. The Chargers’ Justin Herbert and Houston rookie C.J. Stroud are the others.

Dobbs is also one of five quarterbacks with a completion percentage over 70: Herbert 74.4, Lamar Jackson 73.3, Josh Allen 72.7, Dobbs 72.0 and Tua Tagovailoa 71.3.

“I think he’s played winning football for us since he’s been here,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said. “I think you guys will continue to see his improvement as he gets more and more comfortable. You can ask him; he’s pretty comfortable right now. He’s making a bunch of plays for us, he’s got good command in the huddle, and he never has any flinch, which I love about him.”

Dobbs will be facing San Francisco’s third-ranked defense in total yards and rushing yards with James Conner at running back, who is fourth in the NFL with 266 yards and 5.2 per carry. Four of his runs have been for at least 20 yards.

Of course, the 49ers answer with Christian McCaffrey, the league’s leading rusher with 353 yards (5.9 per run).

He is complemented by tight end George Kittle and wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, who didn’t play because of a shoulder injury in San Francisco’s Week 3 Thursday night 30-12 win over the Giants. Aiyuk was limited in practice Wednesday, while Samuel did not practice after suffering an injury to his ribs and knee against the Giants.

Also not practicing for the 49ers were wide receiver Jauan Jennings (shin) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (ankle).

For the Cardinals, Conner was limited in practice because of a back injury and defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter (finger) did not practice. Inside linebackers Krys Barnes (finger) and Josh Woods (ankle), who has missed the last two games, did not practice. Barnes was injured Sunday and was seen wearing a soft cast.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was glad to be 3-0 and to have some time off after the Thursday game.

“It’s really cool to do it after a Thursday night game,” he said of being undefeated. “There’s not many times in the NFL where you get to enjoy a win more than just that night. So it’s always cool when you win on Thursdays. I told the guys if they want to win and have a weekend off, we got to earn it, and those guys did. Now you can sit back and relax a little bit, kind of enjoy how these last three weeks have gone and be ready to go.”

Cornerback Isaiah Oliver said the Cardinals game was one he watched on the Sunday day off.

“They came out, and they fought hard,” he said. “They played really well. We understand that will be a big matchup, a divisional game. It’s always tough playing a division rival.”

Last season, the 49ers dominated a very different Cardinals team in two games, winning 38-10 and 38-13. Overall, the 49ers have won 13 consecutive regular-season games and 10 straight at home, including the postseason.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Jay Ward (20) tackles Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (15) to cause a fumble in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Defense rallies Cardinals past Vikings, 18-17

David Blough and Clayton Tune combined to pass for 158 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Arizona Cardinals used a second-half rally to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 18-17 on Saturday in the preseason finale for each.

Arizona’s Matt Prater made two field goals, including a 27-yarder with 6:20 remaining to put the Cardinals ahead for good. Arizona’s defense recovered from a slow start to hold the Vikings scoreless in the second half and three points over the final three quarters.

Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall was 16 of 27 for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Blake Proehl caught five passes for 45 yards for Minnesota. DeWayne McBride had 37 yards rushing for the Vikings, including a 1-yard TD run to open the scoring in the first quarter.

Blough’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Davion Davis with 7:54 remaining in the third quarter got Arizona within 17-9. Blough then scored on a 5-yard run with 10:50 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 17-15.

Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed a 54-yard field-goal attempt with 2:28 remaining that would have given Minesota the lead.

–Field Level Media

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) runs out on to the field to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Dec. 25, 2022.

Nfl Tampa Bay At Cardinals Budda Baker

Report: Cards SS Budda Baker can earn $2.4M in bonuses

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker has a chance to earn up to $2.4 million in bonuses this season, NFL Network reported Thursday.

The incentives are part of a revised contract with the five-time Pro Bowl selection that also includes a $300,000 signing bonus and a raise for next season, per the report.

Baker was seeking a long-term extension and requested a trade during the offseason. He has two years remaining on a four-year, $59 million deal signed in 2020.

Baker, 27, was a second-round pick in 2017. He has 650 career tackles with 7.5 sacks and seven interceptions in 93 games (83 starts) over six seasons, all with Arizona.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) runs to pass the ball while Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo (54) defends in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals ink QB Jeff Driskel as workouts, signings underway

As NFL teams returned to their practice facilities this week for offseason workouts, several teams signed their own restricted free agents or secured players with “exclusive rights signings.”

The Arizona Cardinals announced they had signed free agent quarterback Jeff Driskel to a one-year deal. Driskel, an NFL reserve since being drafted by the 49ers in the sixth round 2016, has played in 23 games and a 1-9 record as a starter playing for the Bengals (2018), Lions (2019-20) and Texans (2021-22).

Driskel, who worked out for the Cardinals last week, was signed by the team to enter the mix at quarterback while Kyler Murray rehabilitates a torn ACL. Veterans Colt McCoy and David Blough are also on the roster.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed veteran free agent OL Matt Feiler to a one-year deal. Feiler started 33 games at left guard for the Los Angeles Chargers over the past two seasons but was released last month.

Restricted free agent CB Myles Bryant re-signed with the New England Patriots, who last month tendered him an offer, giving them first right of refusal on his services for the coming season. By signing that tender Monday, Bryant is back with the Patriots after starting six games last season and returning punts. He has played in 38 games for the Patriots over the past three seasons and has 123 tackles with three interceptions.

Also, the Washington Commanders defensive back Jeremy Reaves signed his tender and will be a one-year restricted free agent. Reaves, and All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 2022 for special teams, has been with Washington for five seasons, playing in 42 games (11 starts) with 102 tackles.

Also, the Packers reportedly signed OT Yosuah Nijman, who started 13 games for them last season. In his three years with Green Bay, Nijman has played in 50 games, starting 21.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal (3) against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cardinals to sign WR Zach Pascal

The Arizona Cardinals are signing wide receiver Zach Pascal to a two-year contract, NFL Network reported Monday.

Financial terms were not revealed.

Pascal, 28, undrafted out of Old Dominion, joined the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 and spent four seasons there before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 2022 season.

In his career, Pascal has played in 81 games (46 starts) and caught 165 passes for 2,038 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also has returned 26 kicks for 597 yards.

Pascal played in all 17 regular-season games (two starts) for the Eagles last season and caught 15 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.

New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon was on the coaching staffs of both the Colts and Eagles during Pascal’s tenure with the teams.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) calls a play at the line during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals, Falcons meet amid struggles, QB changes

The host Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals each will look to end lengthy losing streaks when they meet on Sunday.

The Falcons (5-10) have dropped four straight and six of their past seven games following a 17-9 loss to the host Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. The Cardinals (4-11) have lost five straight and seven of their past eight contests after a 19-16 overtime loss to visiting Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The Falcons and Cardinals have undergone changes at quarterback.

Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder will be making his third start after coach Arthur Smith benched Marcus Mariota during the team’s bye week due to his poor performance and a nagging knee injury. Mariota has been placed on injured reserve.

Ridder went 22-of-33 passing for 218 yards against the Ravens a week after throwing for just 97 yards in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Falcons have gone 4-8 in one-score games this year after going 7-2 last season.

“You’re trying to build a culture of winning the right way,” Smith said. “We’ve come in a lot of close games with a young team, and been charging back, but we haven’t gotten over the hump in the last four games. We need to do that.

“Desmond Ridder needs to go in there (and) we need to go win a football game. Those are important, especially if he’s going to be the quarterback of the future.”

Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said Colt McCoy will start against the Falcons after he cleared concussion protocol and practiced Wednesday.

McCoy left with a concussion during a loss to the Denver Broncos on Dec. 18 and was replaced by Trace McSorley, who made his first career start against the Buccaneers.

McCoy has completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 780 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in four games this season.

The Cardinals’ quarterback situation has been in disarray since Kyler Murray’s season-ending torn ACL in a loss to the New England Patriots on Dec. 12. Murray, who reportedly will have surgery on Jan. 3, is facing a potential nine-month recovery. His availability for the start of the 2023 regular season is uncertain.

“We had some meetings (Tuesday) and I just said, ‘Kyler can’t play and you brought me here to play. I want to finish the season strong,’ ” McCoy said. “That all hinged on getting cleared and going through the whole concussion protocol and the doctors did a fantastic job. I was fighting to play last week but they weren’t having it.

“I’m fully cleared and excited about getting another opportunity.”

The Cardinals will play their first game since defensive end J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said earlier this week that he will retire at season’s end.

Arizona defensive lineman Zach Allen (hand), offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum (knee/ankle), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (hip), receiver A.J. Green (illness), running back James Conner (illness) and cornerback Marco Wilson (neck) didn’t practice on Wednesday.

Cardinals’ offensive linemen Billy Price (knee) and Max Garcia (shoulder) and safety Charles Washington (chest) all were limited.

Falcons guards Chuma Edoga (knee), who has missed the past three games, and Elijah Wilkinson (calf) didn’t practice Wednesday. Tight end Feleipe Franks (concussion) also was held out after entering concussion protocol on Monday.

–Field Level Media