The most obvious questionable decision came late in the first half with the Niners going for it on fourth-and-1 with four seconds left in the second quarter. San Francisco called a run play for Tevin Coleman that Arizona appeared to blow up, which would keep it a one-score tilt at half. Alas, Kingsbury called a timeout right before the snap, negating the play. As fate would deem proper, the 49ers punched it in with a pass on the following play.
After the loss, the rookie coach took ownership of the gaffe timeout.
"I wanted to get a Kodak timeout, one of those looks at it," Kingsbury said, via 98.7 FM Arizona Sports Radio. "Wanted them to hopefully to burn their best play. Looking back on it, would have rather gotten that stop.
"That one didn't work out for us and that's on me."
The Niners score stretched the lead to 21-7 at the half and gave them plenty of rope to fend off the Cardinals' comeback bid.
Kingsbury later chose to kick a field goal down 14 points with under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter instead of going for it on fourth-and-13 from the Niners' 18-yard-line. The field goal got them closer, but not close enough to ultimately make up for the four points.
And on the 49ers' final drive of the game, the Cardinals coach burned another timeout on a challenge of the spot on a Coleman first-down run. Not only did replay appear to show the Niners did indeed pick up the first down, but those spot plays are so infrequently overturned that risking a timeout in that situation wasn't worth the dice roll. Perhaps if the Cards don't waste that timeout, the Niners play-calling is different on the ensuing third-down, and Kyler Murray gets the ball back late to give Arizona a chance.
Kingsbury's play-calling and ability to squeeze juice out of his offense have been great in his first season. The other in-game aspects of being an NFL head coach need work.