The 49ers clobbered the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 on Monday night. One of the most intriguing matchups, at least for the first half, was Charvarius Ward against DeAndre Hopkins. The 49ers’ CB1 switched sides to line up almost exclusively against Hopkins, who generally stays on the left side of the field.
Hopkins had an impressive first half, when he had seven catches for 77 yards. He had just two catches in the second half, for 14 yards. His taunting penalty early on was a backbreaker for Arizona, with an interception coming soon after.
Ward didn’t have a stellar coverage performance in the first half, but he was extremely physical and effective as a tackler, leading the team with 10 tackles on the game including one for a loss.
San Francisco’s CB1 joined 49ers broadcasters Greg Papa and Tim Ryan after the game on KNBR and made his feelings on the Arizona wideout abundantly clear.
He said Hopkins was trying to get under the 49ers’ skin and intimidate them. He doesn’t see Hopkins as an elite receiver.
“D Hop, he think he a tough guy. He think he still one of the best receivers in the league and he really not,” Ward said. “He was trying to talk noise and talk hard all game. We not scared of him. He thought we was scared of him. He tried to intimidate us, but forget him, we did our thing. We went out there and got a dub and we did our job. He was just yip-yapping all game, but we don’t care about that. We just wanted to win.”
Ward continued with a jab at Hopkins’ six-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, saying he was playing dirty.
“He was getting locked up. He was doing some dirty things,” Ward said. “He tried to clip me, he grabbed me by the throat. He grabbed my facemask on one play, so I don’t respect his game. That’s steroid boy.”
As a reminder, this will not be the last meeting between these two teams, and hopefully not these two players. The 49ers and Cardinals face off on the final day of the season at Levi’s Stadium, though given the trajectories of these two teams, it may not mean all that much.