49ers lose Jimmy Garoppolo for season in 33-17 win over Miami; Five burning questions answered

The San Francisco 49ers took down the Miami Dolphins 33-17 on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium. With the victory San Francisco extended their longest winning streak since 2019 to five in a row and improved to 8-4.

San Francisco followed a familiar formula, suffocating defense, grind the clock and make just enough plays to win.

Here are the answers to the five questions we asked prior to the game.

1.) Can Jimmy Garoppolo get the offense into the endzone? No, but Brock Purdy can.

Jimmy Garoppolo completed a pair of passes for 56 yards on the Niners opening drive before injuring his foot while being sacked on third down.

According to Kyle Shanahan, Garoppolo sustained some broken bones which will require surgery and end his season.

With Garoppolo in the locker room, it was time for Brock Purdy.

Purdy missed some open throws early, but as the game went on, he proved he was up to the task.

As time wound down in the first half Purdy led the 49ers offense down the field, hitting Christian McCaffrey from three yards out. Purdy threw the ball on nine of eleven plays to set up the score.

San Francisco cracked the redzone twice with Purdy. The rookie put the ball into the endzone both times, hitting Kyle Juszczyk from three yards out before the connection with McCaffrey.

It was a terrific performance from Purdy who completed 25 of 37 attempts for 210 yards and two touchdowns and only one interception which came on a fourth down shot. He will make his first NFL start next week against Tom Brady.

2.) Will the 49ers get their run game on track? Yes and No

As has been the case all season San Francisco’s running game was inconsistent on Sunday.

The 49ers ran the ball 31 times for 124 yards before Purdy took a knee three times to end the game.

Although the numbers don’t look great, San Francisco was able to run the ball well when it was most needed.

After taking over possession with only six minutes left to play a nine-yard run by Deebo Samuel followed by a 30-yard dash from Christian McCaffrey led to a 48-yard field goal from Robbie Gould to put the game away. During the ten play, 39-yard drive San Francisco was able to take nearly four minutes off the clock.

McCaffrey finished as the leading rusher with 66 yards on 17 carries. McCaffrey also caught eight passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie Jordan Mason made his presence felt. The undrafted free agent picked up 51 yards on eight carries. Most of Mason’s yards came off zone runs which take advantage of his vision and quickness.

3.) Can the 49ers defense take away the middle of the field? YES

Tua Tagovailoa came into Sunday with a clear strength, completing passes into the middle third of the field.

He made a few big plays in that area, hitting Trent Sherfield for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the game and Tyreek Hill from 45 yards out in the fourth quarter.

In between those two explosive plays the San Francisco defense did a good job of taking away that area of the field and Tagovailoa struggled.

With Miami forced to throw elsewhere, Tagovailoa missed open receivers with inaccurate throws, hitting only 16 of 31 attempts for 175 yards. Jimmie Ward and Deommodore Lenior each came away with an interception of Tagovailoa.

Fred Warner also played a large role in the 49ers ability to slow down Miami’s passing attack. The middle linebacker was responsible for two of San Francisco’s six pass break ups on the day.

4.) Will San Francisco’s defense be able to take away their former teammates? YES, with one exception.

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. were complete nonfactors in this game. The former 49ers running backs touched the ball only eight times for 33 yards.

Trent Sherfield fared much better, taking a short slant 75 yards to the house on the opening play of the game. He did not catch another pass the rest of the game.

River Cracraft made a pair of catches totaling 29 yards on three targets.

5.) The teacher or the pupil? The Teacher

Kyle Shanahan improved to 13-7 against his former assistants.

Forced to go with the quarterback who started the season third on the depth chart, Shanahan put together a master class in game management.

As Purdy struggled to get into a rhythm early on, Shanahan took the pressure off by focusing on the run game.

With the game tied late in the first half Shanahan put the whip to the offense and Purdy responded with a touchdown drive.

Shanahan showed aggressiveness on a couple of occasions. Facing fourth and four at the Miami 39 late in the second quarter, Shanahan dialed up a deep pass down the right sideline to Brandon Aiyuk. Although Purdy’s pass wound up being intercepted, the call gave Aiyuk a chance to make a play and the result was like a punt.

During the second 49ers possession after the half, Shanahan again went for it on fourth down. This time Purdy was able to pick up the first down with a sneak. Although San Francisco was forced to settle for a field goal a few plays later, the extra downs helped to extend the drive and take time off the clock.

San Francisco finished with over 40 minutes of possession for the game. Keeping the Miami offense helped the 49ers defense and played a large role in the victory.


49ers 23 Dolphins 16

This article has 57 Comments

  1. Jack didn’t you know that you have to watch what you say or it may come true? (re; JG)

  2. I can think of a million Jimmy Garoppolo analogies, by I love my latest: “It’s like trying to drive across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, on spare tire, and then wondering why you never made it to L.A., after your spare tire gave out on the outskirts of Flagstaff Arizona!”

  3. Another step toward the playoffs.
    It is truly next man up.
    I am looking forward to a magical finish to this season …
    Go 9ers!

  4. BTW guys, is it too soon for a Jimmy Garoppolo eulogy? I feel like it needs to happen. I don’t hate Jimmy, but I hate depending on Jimmy. Does that make sense? I am truly feeling like a grey cloud has lifted, and that a new era of 49ers football has begun!

    R.I.P. Jimmy G!

    And one last thing: Shame on Kyle Juszczyk, for acting jazzed after Trey Lance’s gruesome injury, but by contrast acting like he’s at a funeral at today’s post game pressor, after an important team win!

    1. At least there is this: If Brock Purdy wins 5 meaningless games at the end of this season, maybe the 49ers can lock him up by giving him a blockbuster – 5 year contract?


    1. Stephen A on ESPN just said that very thing, that Purdy can do all the things Jimmy can but a bit better. We’ll see. I still see his lack of NFL playing experience as a big obstacle..

      1. Similar to Lance’s overall lack of playing time….except Purdy was a 4 year starter at Iowa State…

      2. Yah, I agree that it’s a big ask for any rookie QB, but I do think Brock’s extensive college resume does give him a chance. Plus, his skill set is a terrific fit for this offense. And let’s face it, while Jimmy has been playing at a high level, he’s still physically limited, and statistically one of the worse postseason QB’s in league history, especially in the money QTR (4th), and despite this, the 49ers still made 2 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl over the last 3 seasons, with extremely poor postseason QB play, so this team still has a chance, IMO. Perhaps the bigger problem is now they have absolutely ZERO depth at QB, which lessens their chance of surviving a minor QB injury down the stretch and in the playoffs.

        1. Jaxson let go of your hate, he’s gone Jaxson. Now Jaxson if they would only get rid of Shanahan you could be a happy Jaxson.

  5. Granted we don’t have a large sample size at this point. But Purdy does seem to have some ‘grit’. What if Kyle Shanahan’s succesful Quarterback development project ends up being Brock Purdy rather than Trey Lance?

    Food for thought…

  6. I gave Kyle a hard time for running McCaffrey into the ground, when he has a 235 lb RB (Mason) ready and waiting with fresh legs. But truth be told, Kyle deserves a lot of credit tonight! Kyle was fantastic in the way he morphed his offense today, and shout out to winning back-to-back coach challenges on key plays! Minus his misuse of Jordan Mason, make no mistake, this was a finely called game for Kyle Shanahan …. borderline brilliant!

    Good work, Kyle!

    1. AES
      I was surprised Bronco’s didn’t sign Josh Johnson…..Now they know they should have and saved $245 Mil….lol

      1. Exactly. At the rate R. Wilson is playing keeping Johnson should have been considered. But the issue with Denver is not only a shell of what was Wilson, but the awful money invested in him.

  7. Maybe pump the brakes a bit on the Brock Purdy bandwagon.

    Much like a recent minor league call up relief pitcher in baseball, Purdy had early success, but eventually they figure you out and game plan for you; that’s when we’ll see if Purdy can really hack it.

    For now, bittersweet win, but a win nonetheless. Felt good to get one against a good opponent.

  8. Those who thought Jimmy’s arm strength was weak. This kids arm is weaker. That pretty much ended any talk of a Super Bowl. Now the Jimmy haters will see just how important he was for the offense. And this is my issue with JG. Guy can’t stay healthy. 🤷🏻‍♂️ it was a fun little what if run the last 5 weeks. They aren’t beating Dallas, or Philly, and damn sure can’t beat baby if the top AFC teams.

      1. Felix,
        ninermd, is not only a 49ers faithful, but he puts his money where his mouth is as a longtime 49ers season ticket holder.

        1. Thank You AES. I’m not giving up on my team. I’m being statistically realistic. If this kid can just Jimmy his was in the next three games, then I’ll see the plan. He doesn’t have to be a huge star, he just has to be jimmy’esk. Which is difficult but not impossible. A rookie with tons of weapons and a very good defense it’s possible, but not easy. Sunday will show a lot. Usually first time starters have a horrible second start. It’s up to shanny and the players to carry this kid a bit and for the defense to continue to dominate. Anything is possible, but I’m not putting all my faith in it. I don’t think there is a mother team in the league that would still have a shot losing their starter. This kid is set up to do well enough to win. TBD

          1. MD,
            I’ll never doubt your 49ers fandom. Heck, if I recall, you bought a couple of chairs from Candlestick Park before it was torn down.

            I heard something interesting on a sports show called “First things First” by Mark Schlereth (football analyst). He said (regarding JG’ injury and Purdy taking over), that the 49ers offense is independent of a QB.
            That made a lot of sense for me, because when you look at how the offense is made up position by position, all the QB has to do is not turn the ball over. Going forward, Purdy doesn’t need to be great, he just needs to play mistake free for the team to succeed … which is/was the same formula for Jimmy.

    1. Indiana looked horrible yesterday and Buckner was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he was not the huge loss for the Niners I thought he was.

      1. allie
        “Buckner was nowhere to be seen.” LOL……Neither was anyone else “SEEN” on the Indy team!
        The Colts continues to find news ways to hit rock bottom…

  9. Josh Johnson does nothing for the Niners, Ask Phil Rivers to come back if healthy.
    I love purdy but he is raw. That said, he is mature, cool, calm and collected. Smart. He will bring back the play-action pass that Jimmy did not run well. Kyle is no fool: he gave up $2 million dolallars to keep this kid. He knows QBs. I disagree that Purdy has a weak arm. His spirals are the best we have seen in years from any SF QB. $-year starter at Iowa State. Ana actual an academic graduate. Some were saying that he is better than the inaccurate Trey. We shall see. (PS. He is also Christian!).

  10. Jack
    I have to confess, I was ready to leave Levi and go home when JG went down….
    Glad I didn’t, Purdy was a PLEASANT SURPRISE!

    A COMPLAINT: Keep CMC healthy, run Mason more!
    A COMMENT: It could be interesting next season, to see who KS starts between Purdy and Lance!

  11. If Purdy can play a full game against the Bucs next week, he will have more NFL starting time than Trey Lance.
    Purdy already has a better winning record.

    Unlike many rookie QBs that get a honeymoon grace period when they start, Purdy does not. He’s expected to keep the team in the playoff picture.
    I like what I saw from him yesterday, and I know that he will play with a big chip on his shoulders.

    1. AES
      ALL TRUE, now lets talks about KS and his E G O! You do realize you’d be asking him to admit drafting Lance
      was a mistake? Even worse, is JL’s ego and the draft picks the 9er give up to draft Lance!
      That my friend is a FULL PLATE OF CROW!

      1. Trey will be given the highest opportunity to start when he comes back.
        I wouldn’t call it an ego issue with Shanahan because I firmly believe that he sees a bright future with Lance. If Purdy has an epic finish this season he will have earned a shot at starting next year. But we just have to see it play out at the moment.

  12. Purdy did a great job first time out. You could see his potential during pre-season and he has the it factor. He has the right stuff for a starter with more seasoning and good coaching.

    1. AES, Short answer, No!
      Mayfield has accuracy issues and has been disliked by the players everywhere he has played.

    2. AES
      So in your opinion, how much should the 9ers be willing to pay for Mayfield?
      NOTE: Mayfield is a FA for the 2023 season, so it would only be for the rest of the 2022 season.

      1. Mayfield would need to come on the cheap. But the more I think of him becoming a 49er, the less I like the idea. Baker would not be a good fit in the locker room.
        I would pass on him. Heck, let the Rams sign him.

  13. Purdy reminds me off N. Mullins. If you remember his first game against the Raiders he was being called the 49ers savior. He was a 3 yr starter in college and broke all of B. Favre’s records. He was accurate on short passes. Once the league realized that he had a weak arm, they loaded the box against him and he was terrible. I hope with all my heart i’m wrong on Purdy. I will withhold my final judgement of him until the end of the season but his lack of arm strength (weaker than JG’s) worries me greatly.

    1. I agree. We have seen this movie many times around the league. Backup comes in and wins some games and look good doing it until the Def adjusted. But I hope Purdy is the exemption here and win it all for us. Unlikely? Yes but not impossible especially with all the talent around him.

  14. With what seems like a very serious foot/ankle injury I don’t think any teams will pull the trigger on JG in the off season. I would love to see the 9ers offer him a non guaranteed minimum vet contract. I would love to see an open competition next year with Lance, Purdy and Jimmy G

    1. OC
      I would be surprised if JG wasn’t signed by the Jets for the 2023 season.
      IMO, at least 10 teams besides the jets, that may be in the market for an experienced QB for the 2023 season:
      Saints. …
      Giants. …
      Falcons. …
      Buccaneers. …
      Bears. …
      Lions. …
      Seahawks. …
      Commanders. …
      Panthers. …

    2. I think that JG will still have value for some needy QB team next season. Unlike the shoulder injury that required surgery on his throwing arm, the ankle injury will have time to heal and put him in a position to sign with another team .. for a much larger payday that he would receive from the 49ers.
      This may not make any sense, and at the risk of sounding harsh and insensitive, this injury may benefit JG because he was having his career best season. I know that there are teams that will take note of this.

      1. Geep/AES,
        It all depends on how serious the surgery is and whether he heals well and quickly. He was already pretty immobile before this injury. I think if he is 100% by the FA signing period the Jets look like a good fit unless M. White gets them to the playoffs and wins a couple playoff games.

        1. If JG had to rely on his running ability there would be cause for concern. But, he’s a typical drop back pocket QB. His winning record as a 49er along with being a great teammate that is respected in the locker room will make him a valuable commodity for some team.

          1. agree. His injury occurred because he did not throw the ball away or avoid the horrible sack that took a fairly long time to develop! Purdy shows some mobility and can do play-action passes.

      2. Of course he’ll get signed by another team. There is no way to know by which team but I doubt it will be the Jets or the Niners. The Jets because I don’t believe they are ready to give up on Zach Wilson. The Niners, for the same reason they let him go in the first place.

        1. Felix,
          Good observation. But the situation with the Jets is slightly different than the 49ers.
          Lance has not had ample time to prove himself where as Wilson has. Lance was not replaced due to bad QB play like Wilson was. If Saleh wants JG, it will be because he may have some doubts regarding Zack. I don’t believe that this is the case with Shanahan regarding Lance.

          1. Really feel bad for JG… the guy could not get a break but I hope he recovers well from the injury and be able to continue playing next year.

            Man, it was almost a perfect weekend of sports for me. MI wins Big 10 and #2 in the CFP playoff and Niners winning but USA losing in WC and losing JG was a big bummer!

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