SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- The
usually are the ones that are the laughingstocks. But heading into Sunday's game at Monster Park, the San Francisco 49ers own that distinction.
It has been a struggle on both sides of the ball for the 49ers, who are off to their worst start since losing their first seven games under legendary coach Bill Walsh in 1979.
The Niners opened their season with losses by a combined five points to Atlanta and New Orleans, but have badly been outplayed in their last two games.
Two weeks ago, the Niners were shut out for the first time in 420 games in a 34-0 debacle at Seattle. Last week, they endured a 24-14 loss here against St. Louis, a game in which the final score was not as close as the final score indicated.
, who missed the previous two games with a separated shoulder, returned to the lineup against the Rams and completed 31-of-47 passes for 299 yards. He threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes when the game was out of reach.
A perennial doormat, the Cardinals have been respectable under new coach Dennis Green.
The Cardinals lost their first three games - St. Louis, New England and Atlanta - but were competitive in each contest.
Last week, the Cardinals finally broke out and gave Green his first victory as coach with a 34-10 rout of the
New Orleans Saints
, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, had a flashback to his glory years as he rushed for 127 yards - his best total since signing with Arizona last season - and a touchdown. He also threw a his first career TD pass, a 21-yard connection with fullback
The teams split two meetings last season, with each winning at home.
In last season's meeting here,
threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Niners rolled to a 50-14 rout.
Matchup to watch: Cardinals left tackle
faces right end
Series: San Francisco leads, 15-10
Next week: Arizona has its bye San Francisco visits
New York Jets
, October 17