Garopollo and 49ers power past Cardinals in 38-10 route south of the border on Monday Night Football

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle celebrates one of his two touchdowns at Estadio Azteca on Monday NOV 21, 2022. (San Francisco 49ers)

by Marko Ukalovic

The scarlet and gold are getting caliente at the right moment.

The San Francisco 49ers scored on four-straight possessions from the second quarter to the start of the third quarter to roll past the Arizona Cardinals in a 38-10 blowout victory on Monday evening at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico.

The NFL made its triumphant return since 2019 as Mexico’s capital city’s favorite team gave the crowd quite a performance.

San Franciso is getting hot at the right time having won three games in a row and regained the top spot in the NFC West as they hold the tiebreaker over the Seattle Seahawks, who were on their bye week. Arizona has lost three out its past four games.

It was a wet beginning to the game as the heavens poured down with a strong steady rain. Neither team was able to cope with the elements on their opening drives.

Arizona (4-7) drew first blood with exactly eight minutes remaining in the first quarter when Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal completed an 11 play 58-yard drive. Quarterback Colt McCoy made his second consecutive start for the injured Kyler Murray who missed his second straight game dealing with a hamstring injury.

San Francisco (6-4) found its footing in the second quarter as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo marched the 49ers down the field in its longest drive of the season of 82 yards on nine plays. Garoppolo connected with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk on a seven-yard touchdown reception.

“When Jimmy (Garoppolo) has been healthy for us and he has his guys out there, he plays at a very high level,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan on his veteran quarterback’s performance.

The 49ers magic number was 39 during their next three drives as that was the number that finished off each scoring drive.

Jimmie Ward picked off McCoy after the ball bounced off the hand of running back James Conner on the Cardinals next possession.

San Francisco only needed three plays to cash in on Ward’s interception. On a third and three Garoppolo stepped up into the pocket and found tight end Geroge Kittle wide open over the middle and Kittle broke one tackle on his way to the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown with 8:42 left in the second quarter.

Arizona answered back when running back James Connor plunged in for a two-yard rushing touchdown that finished off a nine play 75-yard drive as that was the closest the Cardinals got on the scoreboard.

The 49ers opened the second half as they ran right down the throat of the Cardinals defense. Deebo Samuel took a pitch from behind the line of scrimmage and run an end around for a 39-yard rushing touchdown to give San Francisco a comfortable 24-10 lead.

San Francisco’s defense once again dominated the second half as they put the hammer down to any type of comeback by Arizona. They made McCoy run for his life in the high altitude of Mexico City with constant pressure as they ended up with three sacks and eight quarterback hits.

Once again for the third consecutive game the 49ers defense shutout their opponent in the second half. A late drive in the fourth quarter ended when Sam Womack III intercepted a pass from backup quarterback Trace McSorley inside the end zone.

The 49ers put the game away back-to-back touchdown drives to seal the route. Aiyuk earned his second touchdown of the game when he caught a 13-yard pass from Garoppolo near the end of the third quarter.

Then Kittle recorded his second touchdown of the game he took a short pass out in the flat from Garoppolo and ran down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown for his first multiple touchdown game of the season.

Garoppolo finished with one of his best offensive performances of the season going 20 of 29 for 228 yards for four touchdowns and no interceptions. Kittle led San Francisco in receiving with 84 yards on four catches to go along with his two touchdowns. Running back Christian McCaffery and Samuel each has seven catches for 67 and 57 yards respectively. Elijah Mitchell chipped in 59 yards on nine carries to lead rushers.

McCoy went 24 of 34 for 218 yards with no touchdown and one interception in the losing effort. Rookie wide receiver Greg Dortch led all receivers with nine catches for 103 yards.

GAME NOTES: San Francisco finished 6-for-11. Arizona went 8-for-16.

San Francisco is 5-1 against Arizona on Monday Night Football. The 49ers now have the most wins in the history of MNF with 52 surpassing the Pittsburgh Steelers who have 51.

The 49ers improved to 3-1 in international play with their most recent trip abroad was a 42-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in in London’s Wembley Stadium back in 2013.

UP NEXT: San Francisco host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday 11/27 at 1:25pm at Levi’s Stadium

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