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Healthy and wholly stocked, the San Francisco 49ers’ full offensive arsenal was on display Monday night.
In front of more than 78,000 fans in Mexico City — the majority of them rooting on the Niners — San Francisco went on a scoring parade and Jimmy Garoppolo was the grand marshal.
Garoppolo tossed four touchdown passes as the Niners drubbed the Arizona Cardinals, 38-10.
“I think Jimmy’s doing a great job,” Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game. “I think Jimmy always has. When Jimmy’s been healthy out there, we’ve had our guys around him, I think he plays at a very high level. And I think he did that today as good as he has. Very fortunate to have him.”
The four TD tosses were the most in an NFL game in Mexico, according to NFL Research, and it was also Garoppolo’s first four-touchdown outing since Week 14 of 2019. It was also a showcase of just how potent the San Francisco offense can be when it’s at its best and putting to use its cavalcade of offensive all-stars.
“I feel good about all of it. I didn’t even know that, the four TDs and everything,” said Garoppolo, who was 20 of 29 for 228 yards, the quartet of touchdowns, no interceptions and a sterling 131.9 rating. “I thought guys were making plays all night though, just everyone was stepping up when their number was called. Guys stepped up and made plays, the O-line gave me a ton of time, which always makes things easier. It was a good night.”
As Garoppolo conducted, everyone got involved.
Tight end George Kittle had his best game of the season production-wise, hauling in a pair of touchdowns on four catches for 84 yards. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk scored twice on his two catches. Christian McCaffrey continued to flourish since his acquisition with 106 scrimmage yards. Elijah Mitchell (nine carries for 59 yards) came on strong in the second half to pound away at a beleaguered Cardinals defense. And then there was Deebo Samuel, who turned in a highlight-reel 39-yard touchdown run to go with seven catches.
“When you have playmakers like we have, it allows you to do everything,” Garoppolo said. “It’s just a ‘what’s-the-defense-going-to-try-to-take-away’ type of thing. If they try to take away the run we’re going to throw it, if they try to take away the middle of the field we’ll throw it outside. You know we’ve got a lot of playmakers on that offense, and it makes my job easy having them around.”
Though everyone was involved, the approach was different on Monday.
San Francisco had just seven first-half rushing attempts, which was tied for the second-fewest in Shanahan’s tenure dating back to 2017. The ball was put in Garoppolo’s hands and he delivered, completing 14 of 21 first-half passes for 153 yards with a 7-yard scoring pass to Aiyuk and a 39-yarder to Kittle. Those touchdowns began a string of four consecutive scoring drives in which the Niners overcame a 3-0 deficit and turned the game into a blowout. That allowed them to reverse course in the second half, as Garoppolo threw it just eight times.
When Garoppolo is on, the 49ers are, too.
The Niners on Monday improved to 14-0 when Garoppolo doesn’t throw an interception, according to NFL Research. It’s the longest such streak by any quarterback in San Francisco’s illustrious history of QBs, having broken a tie between Garoppolo, Joe Montana and Colin Kaepernick.
And so it goes that Monday was Garoppolo’s third straight game without an INT and the Niners’ third straight win. They’re back in first in the NFC West and rolling right along.
“I think the past couple weeks we’ve been putting together some good games,” Garoppolo said. “Today was probably our best full game we put together, but we’ve got a long way to go, there’s some yardage we left out there and even some points we left out there, so it’s a nice thing that guys are still hungry.”
Amid a galaxy of star performers, Garoppolo shined on a Monday night in Mexico City.
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