Adrian Peterson carried a career-high 37 times for 159 yards and Drew Stanton threw two touchdown passes to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 20-10 victory over the winless San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Peterson, 32, was a workhorse in his third game with the Cardinals (4-4). He posted the most carries ever for a player in his 30s and topped the 100-yard mark for the second time since being acquired in a trade from New Orleans last month.
Peterson’s tough running and Stanton’s pair of first-half touchdown passes were enough to help Arizona bounce back from a 33-0 loss to the Rams before last week’s bye.
The undermanned 49ers (0-9) extended the worst start in franchise history and have lost 23 of the past 24 games overall. Newly acquired quarterback of the future Jimmy Garoppolo was mostly a spectator as rookie C.J. Beathard got battered once again behind a patchwork line missing injured left tackle Joe Staley.
Beathard went 24 for 51 for 294 yards and an interception and also ran for a touchdown. He was also sacked five times and hit 16 times overall, but still managed to stay in the game and not force the 49ers to use Garoppolo just days after he was acquired for a second-round pick from New England.
Stanton, making his first start this season in place of the injured Carson Palmer, went 15 for 30 for 201 yards with TD passes to Jaron Brown and Jermaine Gresham. He also was intercepted once.
Arizona’s Frostee Rucker and Hasson Reddick and San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde all were ejected for fighting in the fourth quarter. The teams got into a skirmish after former 49ers safety Antoine Bethea hit San Francisco quarterback C.J. Beathard late as he was sliding following a run. The 49ers took exception to the hit and players from both teams started scuffling.
Niners receiver Marquise Goodwin showed off his speed a few times in the first half. He got behind the Arizona secondary on multiple occasions and caught one deep ball for 55 yards from Beathard to set up a field goal by Robbie Gould. Goodwin also chased Patrick Peterson down from behind at the 6 on a return after Kyle Juszczyk lost a fumble to prevent a touchdown. Stanton ended up getting the TD anyway on a 3-yard pass to Jaron Brown that opened the scoring.
Peterson reached the 12,000-yard rushing mark for his career in the second quarter. Peterson got the milestone in his 130th career game, fourth fastest in NFL history. Only Hall of Famers Jim Brown (115), Eric Dickerson (118) and Barry Sanders (125) got there faster. Peterson also moved into 15th place on the career rushing list with 12,142 yards, jumping ahead of Thurman Thomas.
Larry Fitzgerald also moved past Tim Brown into sixth place on the all-time list for yards receiving with 14,953 yards.
The Cardinals led 14-3 at halftime and it could have been much more except Phil Dawson missed a 38-yard field goal on the opening drive and Stanton was intercepted in the end zone by Eric Reid in the second quarter.
The 49ers lost Juszczyk (neck) S Jaquiski Tartt (wrist), WR Trent Taylor (rib) and LB Elijah Lee (knee) to injuries.
Cardinals: Host Seattle on Thursday night.
49ers: Host New York Giants on Sunday.