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Silver linings: Cardinals at 49ers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The facts: The Cardinals fell to 8-5 after a 24-9 road loss to the 49ers in Week 14.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.

  • The Cardinals won't have to face the 49ers again until next season unless both teams qualify for the postseason.

  • Receiver Larry Fitzgerald was able to return after suffering a knee injury, a strong suggestion the injury was not serious.

  • Beanie Wells ran the ball effectively against the 49ers' tough run defense. He finished with 15 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. Wells also gained 24 yards on a reception.

  • Second-year receiver Early Doucet made a clutch sideline grab when the Cardinals were trying to rally. This was a positive step for Doucet, who hasn't produced much since coaches made him the fourth receiver.

  • Strong safety Adrian Wilson rose to the challenge against 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Both players prevailed at different times in the matchup. Wilson picked off one pass and deflected another that otherwise could have resulted in a big gain for Davis, who had three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.

  • Defensive end Darnell Dockett had an interception and a fumble recovery.

  • Defensive end Calais Campbell had another sack, giving him 2.5 in his last three games and 6.0 this season.

  • Rookie LaRod Stephens-Howling had a 37-yard kickoff return.

  • The Cardinals trailed by only eight points in the fourth quarter when they made their sixth turnover.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals visit the Lions in Week 15.