GLENDALE, ARIZ. - Jim Harbaugh called it a 14-point swing. Midway through the second quarter, the 49ers had lined up for a 50-yard field goal when special teams coach Brad Seely called a trick play. Holder Andy Lee took the snap, began running to his right and, with a defender in his face, lofted a pass to center Jonathan Goodwin, who was streaking - as well as a 318-pound lineman can - down the sideline.
Goodwin made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch and then rambled into the end zone for an apparent 32-yard touchdown. The officials, however, were blasting their whistles during the play. They decided that Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt had thrown his challenge flag before the ball was snapped, something that was disputed by the 49ers.
"We were looking at that," Jim Harbaugh said after the game. "We were watching (the Cardinals), and we didn't feel like they got that challenge off. That's a judgment call by the officials. You can argue it, but there is nothing really to contest."
Whisenhunt said he didn't think that receiver Kyle Williams cleanly caught a pass on the previous play, which was why he threw the challenge flag. "I didn't think it was a catch. That's why I threw the challenge flag - other than I suspected that they might try to run a fake field goal," he said with a laugh.
The 49ers didn't think the sequence was funny. The review of Williams' catch never occurred because the replay equipment malfunctioned. But the 49ers' surprise had been foiled, and kicker David Akers - who was 6-6 on field goals from 50 yards or more entering the game - missed the do-over to the right.
The Cardinals took over on their own 40-yard line and on the next play, quarterback John Skelton hit receiver Early Doucet over the middle on a 60-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and the Cardinals took the lead 7-6.
Offensive tackle Alex Boone said the sequence turned the game upside down.
"It shifted momentum," he said. "It killed us."
The 49ers joined the 1920 Decatur Staleys as the only teams that have played 13 games without allowing a rushing touchdown. The Cardinals seemed to have an opportunity to break that streak in the fourth quarter with a first-and-goal situation from the San Francisco 3-yard line. But on first down, Skelton hit receiver Andre Roberts with a quick screen for the touchdown.
Beanie Wells led the Cardinals in rushing with 15 carries for 27 yards. That means the 49ers have gone 35 straight games without allowing a rusher 100 or more yards.
Two seasons ago, left tackle Joe Staley suffered a knee sprain on the first snap of a game against Indianapolis. Sunday against the Cardinals, Staley again was hurt on the initial snap, this time after absorbing a blow to the head.
Staley remained in the game for a few more snaps but was eventually replaced by Boone, the team's top backup at left and right tackle. Boone recently signed a four-year contract extension with the 49ers. Staley was being examined for a concussion.
Safety Dashon Goldson, meanwhile, suffered a hip flexor injury when he landed hard on his side after trying to knock away a pass intended for receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Goldson later returned to the game. Defensive end Ray McDonald had his left hand examined after the game
Odds and Ends
* Frank Gore finished with 72 rushing yards, giving him 1,064 yards on the season. It's the fifth time since Gore became the 49ers' starter in 2006 that he's broken the 1,000-yard barrier. He came 147 yards short last season after breaking his hip on Nov. 30, which caused him to miss the rest of the season.
â€¢ The 49ers' next game is a week from today against Pittsburgh. The players will take Tuesday and Wednesday off and begin preparing for the Steelers on Thursday.
â€¢ Andy Lee and the 49ers' punt team held Cardinals return man Patrick Peterson to 44 yards on five returns. Peterson has scored four touchdowns on punt returns this season.
-- Matt Barrows