On a night when the 49ers defense cracked, Jimmy Garoppolo had perhaps the best game of his 49ers career.
Garoppolo’s big game produced a 28-25 victory Thursday night in Arizona that gave his team its eighth straight victory to open this season – and held off an upset bid by the Cardinals.
With the game on the line, Garoppolo led a long, game-ending drive that ate up more than four minutes and kept the ball out of Arizona’s hands to secure the victory.
Perhaps Garoppolo’s biggest pass of the night came on a third-and-9 play with two minutes left in the game, when he threaded a pass to tight end Ross Dwelley for 11 yards. It produced a first down and allowed San Francisco to run out the clock, with Arizona not having enough timeouts to get the ball back.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters the play was designed to get the ball to wideout Deebo Samuel, but Garoppolo was under pressure, had to roll to his left and then found Dwelley.
How good was Garoppolo in the clutch Thursday night? He was 12-of-14 passing on third or fourth down vs. Arizona, with all four of his touchdown passes coming on those downs – as well as the victory-sealing throw to Dwelley.
Overall Thursday, Garoppolo was 28-of-37 for 317 yards. His passer rating was 136.9. It was his first 300-yard passing game since the end of the 2017 season.
New 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had seven catches for 112 yards and a TD, and said he felt he was on the same page with his new QB all night, often catching passes in stride on his routes. He said he has a new understanding of how good Garoppolo is.
"This is one of those games that Jimmy had a coming-out party for me," Sanders said. "I’m looking forward to continuously gain chemistry with him and getting better and better. The sky is the limit."
Shanahan, too, praised his quarterback for his ability to avoid the rush, buy time with his feet and make adjustments against good coverage.
Said Shanahan: "They mixed up a lot of stuff. I thought Jimmy played a hell of a game. His best game yet, probably."
The 8-0 49ers’ next game is Monday, Nov. 11, when they take on the 6-2 Seahawks in a battle of the top two teams in the NFC West.