Here is what stood out from the 49ers 38-10 rout of the Cardinals in Mexico City on Monday night.
Garoppolo is the perfect quarterback for the way the 49ers roster is currently constituted.
If Garoppolo was a point guard he’d be more John Stockton than Allen Iverson. He is more of a facilitator than a play maker. The 49ers have plenty of playmakers to move the ball.
The 49ers are one of top yards after the catch teams in the league, and Garoppolo is a reason why. His quick release, and accuracy helps Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and the other skill players make big plays.
Over the last four games Garoppolo has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for an average of 8.5 yards per attempt and a passer rating on 115.74.
The main area of improvement from Garoppolo has been a reduction in mistakes. He has thrown only one interception in the last four games. The 49ers will be tough to beat if he keeps this up.
Despite having the third most targets on the 49ers, Kittle’s usage as a receiver had been a point of discussion leading up to the game.
This discussion was being had despite the tight end having the third most targets on the team.
Last night against Arizona, Kittle had the third most targets on the team.
What was different about last night was Kittle’s ability to turn two catches into long touchdown receptions. His 39 and 32-yard touchdown grabs were the first time Kittle had a pair of touchdowns cover that distance in his career.
Kittle is never going to put up the numbers Travis Kelce does for the Chiefs. The 49ers offense isn’t built that way. However, Kittle’s ability as a receiver combined with his ability to block makes him the best all-around tight end in the NFL today.
Samuel’s role as a wideback was put on the shelf for a week. It should stay there.
On Monday night Samuel was back making catches over the middle and running end arounds for long touchdowns. This is what he does best.
Samuel’s 39-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half turned the clock back to 2019. It was the same play call Samuel scored the 49ers first touchdown on in their week 17 win over Seattle.
The touchdown run was Samuel’s third of the season and marked the longest touchdown rush of his career.
Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell
McCaffrey and Mitchell combined for 98 yards on 16 rushing attempts against Arizona.
The explosiveness of McCaffrey and the power of Mitchell gives the 49ers offense the best 1-2 punch out of the backfield it has had under Kyle Shanahan.
McCaffrey’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has unlocked San Francisco’s offense. The 49ers points per game has jumped from 20.3 over the first six games to 28.5 since acquiring McCaffrey in a trade with the Carolina Panthers.
On one possession against Arizona, McCaffrey turned short throws into first downs. In all McCaffrey turned five of his seven targets into first downs.
Mitchell is more of a grinding back, picking up chunks of yardage on runs between the tackles. His power is the perfect complement to McCaffrey.
Aiyuk may have finished with only two receptions for 20 yards against Arizona, but he made the most of them by getting into the endzone.
The two touchdowns last night give Aiyuk 16 in his 39 career games. This matches Terrell Owens for the fewest games needed to reach that total in 49ers history. It trails only Gene Washington (25 games) and Jerry Rice (26 games).
Aiyuk’s route running and ability to beat man coverage has allowed him to become the 49ers best redzone threat. Of his six touchdown receptions this season five have come in the redzone.
The 49ers offensive line was dominant on Monday night. They did not allow a sack and gave up only four quarterback hits on 29 drop backs.
In addition to keeping Jimmy Garoppolo clean, the offensive line created holes all night for a run game which averaged 6.8 yards per attempt when the starters were in.
The most impressive play of the night belonged to Jake Brendel. The center was able to get out and clear out the final defender about 35 yards downfield on Deebo Samuel’s long touchdown run early in the second half.
Givens must have heard the rumors that San Francisco was interested in acquiring Ndamukong Suh and taken it personally.
The backup defensive tackle was constantly in the backfield to slow down runs. He finished with two tackles, both for losses, and a sack of Colt McCoy for a loss of nine.
Bosa extended his streak of games with sacks to four when he took down Colt McCoy for a 12-yard sack on the final play of the first half. The sack brought Bosa to 10.5 on the season, marking his second consecutive season with ten or more sacks.
In addition to the sack, Bosa finished with three quarterback hits and a tackle for loss.
The 49ers defense has allowed more than 19 points only once in Bosa’s nine game this season.
Ward recorded his first interception of the season when he came down with a deflection off the hands of Cardinals running back James Connor.
It was the first interception for Ward against a team other than the Los Angeles Rams since he picked off Bryce Petty in a 23-17 loss to the New York Jets in week 14 of 2016.
Ward was also credited with a pass defended.
Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw
The best linebacker duo in the NFL was at it again on Monday night.
Warner came up with a sack of Colt McCoy, bringing the quarterback down after a blitzing Talanoa Hufanga missed the tackle. Warner finished with six tackles including a pair for loss.
Greenlaw was all over the field once again. The linebacker finished with nine tackles, second among 49ers to Charvarius Ward. He also forced his first career fumble when he hit James Connor on a run down the left sideline and had a pass defended.