GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick’s first pass was off his back foot. Interception, touchdown. Next series, another off-balance throw. Interception, touchdown.
Not much chance of the San Francisco 49ers recovering from a start like that. Same thing might be said about their season after consecutive blowout losses.
Kaepernick had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in his first four pass attempts and threw four overall, setting the stage for San Francisco’s embarrassing 47-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
“Very hard to see myself go out and play like that and hurt my team the way I did,” Kaepernick said. “I nullified all the efforts of every other player on that field today and that’s something I have to fix.”
Kaepernick threw for 67 yards on 9-of-19 passing and had a quarterback rating of 16.7. Tyrann Mathieu had two interceptions off Kaepernick, including one for a touchdown, and Justin Bethel had the other pick-six.
With their quarterback ineffective, the 49ers (1-2) tried turning to the run. They didn’t have much success there, either, gaining 103 yards on 29 carries.
The 49ers’ defense was just as bad, allowing Carson Palmer to pick them apart and Chris Johnson to run around and through them.
Palmer threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns, both to Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona’s still-spry veteran finished with 11 catches for 134 yards.
Johnson had his best game since signing with Arizona (3-0), rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns to help the Cardinals score at least 40 points in consecutive games for first time since 1969. It was the franchise’s largest margin of victory since beating Houston 44-0 in 1970.
In other words, a total domination.
“We just got embarrassed today,” 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “We really got embarrassed today.”
The 49ers had dominated the series against the Cardinals, winning 10 of 12.
But this was a much different team than San Francisco has had following an offseason makeover.
The 49ers had mixed results to open the season, beating Minnesota 20-3 at home before getting blasted at Pittsburgh 43-18, so it was tough to get a gauge on just where this team stands.
They certainly were on shaky ground against the Cardinals.
Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to the Super Bowl just three years ago, had a decent start to the season, throwing for 500 yards and two touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes. He had no interceptions in 72 attempts.
He got off to an awful start against Arizona, throwing two interceptions in his first four attempts, both returned for touchdowns.
Bethel had the first one, stepping in front of Vernon Davis for an easy 21-yard score. Mathieu grabbed the next Kaepernick off-balance throw, returning it 33 yards to quickly put Arizona up 14-0.
Kaepernick’s four passes in the first quarter: two completions for 10 yards and two interceptions returned for 54.
“The biggest thing was I didn’t play well,” said Kaepernick, who had a 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. “I put our team behind the 8-ball from the jump and we never rebounded from that.”
Kaepernick threw another interception late in the second quarter — right after Palmer threw one — to set up Matt Catanzaro’s 22-yard field goal on the final play to put the Cardinals up 31-7 at halftime.
It didn’t get any better in the second half.
Looking deep on the first play of the third quarter, Kaepernick underthrew his receiver and was intercepted by Jerraud Powers. Palmer followed with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald to make it 38-7.
That gave Kaepernick four interceptions and five completions in 10 pass attempts — and the 49ers no shot.
“Jerraud’s interception to start the second half was huge to set the momentum that we weren’t just going to sit there,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “Then to answer that with a touchdown, we really shut the door.”
Possibly on San Francisco’s season.
Notes: Adrian Wilson became the 15th member of the Cardinals’ ring of honor during a halftime ceremony. He was a five-time Pro Bowls and was a three-time All-Pro in 12 seasons with Arizona. ... Carlos Hyde was San Francisco’s leading rusher with 51 yards on 15 carries. ... Palmer was sacked for the first time this season late in the third quarter.