Loaded with primetime games, SF 49ers face tough road in 2020

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo prepares to throw in Super Bowl LIV as Garoppolo will lead the 49ers in the 2020 season that is if the NFL gets the nod to open up the season. (si.com file photo)

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

While its still unknown if the sports landscape will return amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL continues to operate as normal, officially releasing its 2020 regular-season schedule for all 32 teams Thursday.

Time to mark your calendars 49ers fans. (Hopefully).

See full schedule here: https://www.49ers.com/schedule/

After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami back in February after holding a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the San Francisco 49ers’ road back to the Super Bowl will be a daunting one.

San Francisco will tussle with both the NFC and AFC East squads on top of their NFC West opponents in 2020.

The reigning NFC Champions will have six games against 2019 playoff teams, including the Seattle Seahawks (twice), New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots. San Francisco has the fourth-toughest schedule in 2020, with their upcoming opponents were a collective 134-120-2 (.527 winning percentage) in 2019.

Expectations are sky-high for San Francisco heading into the season after a 13-win campaign last year.

All eyes will be glued on 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020 to see if he can follow up an impressive 2019 season. In his first full year as a starter, Garoppolo shined as the top signal-caller for San Francisco, throwing for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

With rumors swirling that general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were contemplating signing Tom Brady, San Francisco decided that they’re all in with the 28-year-old Garoppolo for the long haul.

For the first time since 2017, the 49ers will open up the season at Levi’s®Stadium with the Arizona Cardinals rolling into town. In the opener, San Francisco will get an up close and personal look at the Cardinals’ biggest offseason acquisition in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona acquired the dynamic playmaker from the Houston Texans, in exchange for running back David Johnson with each team picking up multiple draft picks too.

This year marks the first time since 2016 that the 49ers will kickoff the season against a divisional opponent.

San Francisco will be prominently featured in primetime, playing four of the five games at Levi’s®Stadium:

  • Week 4 against Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday Night Football)
    • The 49ers last faced the Eagles in 2017, in which San Francisco were throttled 33-10 in Philadelphia.
  • Week 6 against Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football)
    • San Francisco and Rams meet for the second-straight year on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers won both meetings last year, including their last-minute victory in Week 16 that saw San Francisco convert back-to-back 3rd-and-16 completions from Garoppolo to engineer the win.
  • Week 9 against Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)
    • Green Bay will make their third-straight trip to Levi’s®Stadium within a calendar year. The Packers and 49ers met twice last year, in Week 12, and again in the NFC Championship game, with the 49ers winning 37-20 and locking up their first Super Bowl appearance since 2013.
  • Week 13 against Buffalo Bills (Monday Night Football)
    • The Buffalo Bills, who have high expectations of their own heading into the 2020 season, will make their first-ever trip to Levi’s®Stadium. The Bills made a splash in the offseason, trading a bevy of picks to the Minnesota Vikings for electric wide receiver Stefon Diggs to help third-year quarterback Josh Allen’s development as a passer.
  • Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
    • Talk about two organizations that aren’t strangers to one another. Both organizations have won five Super Bowls and feel that this is the year that they both can win their sixth. With this matchup late in the year, this could be a potential playoff preview or at the least, a playoff spot will be up for grabs.

San Francisco has three separate stands of back-to-back road matchups, starting with Weeks 2 and 3.

The 49ers are set to face the New York Jets then New York Giants at Met Life Stadium in consecutive weeks, marking just the second time in team history that San Francisco is taking on the Jets and Giants in consecutive weeks (Weeks 13-14 of 1986) and the first time doing so on the road in back-to-back weeks.

Last year, the 49ers stayed on the east coast in between road games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1) and the Cincinnati Bengals (Week 2), and the Baltimore Ravens (Week 13), and the New Orleans Saints (Week 14).

In Week 7, San Francisco will head to the Northeast to take on the New England Patriots in Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxborough. The following week, San Francisco will travel to the Pacific Northwest for their first matchup against NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

Unlike last season’s Week 4, this year the 49ers’ bye comes in Week 11, which could be vital for San Francisco who could be fighting for playoff positioning. This marks the third time in four seasons that San Francisco have had their Bye in Week 11.

Following the Bye, the 49ers will evenly split their final six contests between home and road trips and a final meeting against each of their division rivals.

For the second-straight year, the 49ers and Seahawks face each other in the season finale. Week 17 could prove to have playoff implications again, similar to 2019 where the 49ers clinched the NFC West in Seattle thanks to then-rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s goal line stop on Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister that perserved a 26-21 victory.

The 49ers will open and close the regular-season at home for the first time since 2016.

49ers draft two players Thursday that could help right away in Round One

Defensive tackle of the San Francisco 49ers Javon Kinlaw who was selected out of South Carolina seen here during his collegiate days (AP Photo)

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Armed with two first-round picks (No. 13 and No. 31 overall) heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, the talk that the San Francisco 49ers would select a play-making wide receiver with their first pick was a forgone conclusion.

After swapping the 13th pick with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who was selecting 14th overall), the 49ers selected South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw on Thursday night. San Francisco also acquired the 117th pick (fourth-round) in the deal from the Vikings, although they also had to surrender a seventh-rounder to complete the deal.

The 49ers have now drafted a defensive lineman in the first round in five of the past six drafts.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has a new weapon to deploy on opposing offenses.

Kinlaw can help San Francisco right away, filling a void that was left after the team decided to trade defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts last month. In exchange for Buckner, the 49ers received the No. 13 overall pick from the Colts.

A native of Trinidad, Kinlaw is still a newbie to the game of football. Kinlaw spent most of his childhood homeless and moved around often. After playing in junior college right out of high school, Kinlaw’s road navigated to South Carolina where he would played in 37 of 38 games and was named a team captain.

The 6-foot-5, 324-pound Kinlaw finished his collegiate career with 82 tackles, 10 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and eight passes defensed in three seasons. He was named a first-team All-American after totaling six sacks and six tackles for a loss as a senior with the Gamecocks.

Later in the first-round, San Francisco made another deal, trading away the No. 31, No. 117 (acquired from the Buccaneers) and No. 176 to the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 25 pick. With that pick, the 49ers selected Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

In a draft that is rich with talent at wide receiver, the 49ers selected the 6-foot-tall, 205-pound Sun Devil product that has a gigantic 81-inch wingspan making his catch radius seemingly endless. Most draft experts has Aiyuk as an above-average route runner with the burst to separate from man-to-man coverage. Aiyuk could face some trouble early adjusting to the NFL, but should flourish as he gets comfortable in 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

With the loss of veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency to the New Orleans Saints in the offseason, Aiyuk gives franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo another pass-catching threat.

Aiyuk, who is a native of Reno, NV, attended Sierra College in Rocklin, CA before moving on to Arizona State, where he caught 98 passes for 1,666 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons in the desert.

 

Super Bowl LIV prediction: 49ers edge Chiefs in thriller behind 49ers MVP Raheem Mostert

photo from mercurynews.com: San Francisco 49iers running back Raheem Mostert celebrates the NFC Championship victory at Levis Stadium on Sun Jan 19th 

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Call me a homer if you want, but I truly believe that the San Francisco 49ers will win Super Bowl LIV over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Score? 35-28, 49ers.

Why?

Simple, behind the play of their stud defensive line powered by rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, and their solid running game centered around running back Raheem Mostert. In fact, Mostert is my pick to walk away with the MVP award of the game.

Mostert, who single-handily punched San Francisco’s ticket to Miami, FL after his four-touchdown, 220-yard rushing performance on 29 carries in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, has become an overnight sensation and a key piece in the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV. After being cut by six teams before latching on with San Francisco in 2016, Mostert became the first player to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.

For all the talk that the 49ers’ chances to win their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy rests on the right arm of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and possibly so, but Mostert will be the guy that the bulk of the offense will flow through when the ball is kicked off on Sunday at 6:38 p.m. ET (3:38 p.m. PT) from Hard Rock Stadium.

The game will be tightly contested for three quarters as both Garoppolo and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will trade touchdown scoring drives heading into the fourth quarter to tie the score at 28-28.

After San Francisco forces Kansas City into a 3-and-out, Mostert will punctuate a 12-play, 75-yard drive with his second touchdown run of the game at the four-minute mark giving the 49ers a 35-28 lead. In turn, San Francisco’s offense will anxiously watch its defense get them across the finish line which its done for most of the 2019 season.

The defense, who has exhibited such a herculean effort in trying to slow down Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offense, the aforementioned Bosa will come up with a crucial sack on fourth down to secure the win.

Mostert, who will finish with a stat line of 22 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns, will be just the eighth running back named MVP of the Super Bowl joining Larry Csonka (Super Bowl VIII), Franco Harris (Super Bowl IX), John Riggins (Super Bowl XVII), Marcus Allen (Super Bowl XVIII), Ottis Anderson (Super Bowl XXV), Emmitt Smith (Super Bowl XXVIII), and Terrell Davis (XXXII).

Everyone but Anderson is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Packers and 49ers tangle for NFC title, trip to Super Bowl LIV

ninerswire.com file photo: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will match up against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers in the NFC Championship at Levis Stadium on Sun Jan 19

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

SANTA CLARA, Calif — For the second time this season, the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers will meet at Levi’s Stadium for a game. But this time, there’s much more at stake for both teams than just a win in the standings.

To the victor, the NFC Championship and a ticket to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida for a chance to play for the Vince Lombardi trophy against the winner between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs from the AFC will be punched.

First class.

To the loser, the harsh reality that your season is over smacks you in face immediately.

Instead of basking in the glow of winning the NFC Championship, you’ll return to your team’s headquarters to clean out your locker room, hug your teammates (possibly for the last time as teams change rapidly in the NFL each year), and go your separate ways for the offseason.

The end.

In the first matchup back in Week 12, the Packers took a beating at the hands of the 49ers, losing 37-8 at Levi’s Stadium. The Packers weren’t just outplayed by the 49ers, but were embarrassed in front of a nationally televised audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played almost flawlessly in that game, throwing for 253 yards on 14-of-20 passes and two long touchdown passes (a 42-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel in the second quarter, and a 61-yard deep ball to tight end George Kittle).

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had one of his worst showings of his career, finishing with 20-of-33 passes for just 104 yards — setting a record for fewest passing yards by a quarterback with at least 20 completions. His 3.15 yards per attempt is the lowest of his career.

San Francisco sacked Rodgers five times that night. Linebacker Fred Warner was all over the field, registering a team-high 11 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble against the Packers on the game’s opening moments. Warner’s performance led him to be named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Don’t expect a replay of Week 12 in this matchup as both teams are playing a elite levels at the most important time of the year.

Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in the South Bay, which kicks off at 3:40 p.m. PT, will feature two teams that finished 13-3 in the regular season, won the NFC West and North Division titles respectively, and earned first-round byes to open up the playoffs as the top-two seeds.

Last Saturday, top-seeded San Francisco (14-3) opened up the divisional round by dismantling the Minnesota Vikings (11-7), 27-10, in dominating fashion. It was the 49ers’ first playoff win in six years.

The returns of defensive starters, Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt, San Francisco’s defense looked re-energized and ready for a big day, made life difficult for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, sacking him six times and limiting Minnesota’s offense to 147 yards on the day, the fewest in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era (1967).

“People keep disrespecting us. At the end of the day, all you can do is go out and execute,” said Richard Sherman, who registered his third career interception in the playoffs. “It felt good. That’s what we look like when we’re totally healthy.”

The 49ers stonewalled Dalvin Cook and the Vikings’ rushing attack, holding Minnesota to just 21 yards on 10 carries (9 carries for Cook, 1 carry for Alexander Mattison). Cook finished the game with 18 rushing yards on nine carries.

Offensively, the 49ers leaned on a punishing running game that ran right through Minnesota like Ex-Lax led by running back Tevin Coleman’s 105 rushing yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. As a team, the 49ers ran 47 running plays and gained 186 yards on the ground.

Garoppolo, who made his first career start in the playoffs, threw a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, and mostly watched his defense wreak havoc on Minnesota for most of the game. He finished 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards.

The second-seeded Packers (14-3) was able to outlast the Seattle Seahawks, 28-23, at Lambeau Field Sunday night that advanced Green Bay to their third NFC Championship Game in six seasons.

In that game, it was a vintage performance by Rodgers with his array of throws and spectacular completions throughout the game. Rodgers and wide receiver Davante were so locked in against the Seahawks, connecting eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s one of those feelings that starts to creep up in warmups, when you really feel like you’re locked in,” Rodgers said, “and I was glad it translated to the field.”

Rodgers finished 16-of-27 passing for 243 yards in his 17th postseason start, has thrown 38 touchdowns passes in the playoffs. That’s good for fifth all-time per Elias Sports Bureau.

Running back Aaron Jones found the end zone twice, while rushing for 62 yards on 21 carries.

Green Bay’s defense sacked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson five times on the night, two apiece by linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith (no relation).

The 49ers and Packers have met in the playoffs seven times with the Packers holding a 4-3 advantage. The 49ers have won the last two playoff matchups.

 

49ers defense thump Vikings, roll into NFC title game with 27-10 victory

sfgate.com: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, center, during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Santa Clara, Calif — In the first ever NFL playoff game at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers defended its home field in dominating fashion, outlasting the visiting Minnesota Vikings 27-10 on Saturday afternoon in the NFC Divisional round for their first playoff win in six years.

With the win, the top-seed 49ers (14-3) advance to the NFC championship game for the 16th time in franchise history where they await the winner between Seattle and Green Bay on Sunday in the other NFC Divisional matchup.

In his first playoff start, Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne for an early 7-0 lead. Garoppolo marched San Francisco 61 yards in eight plays after its defense forced Minnesota (11-7) to punt on their opening drive.

Garoppolo wasn’t spectacular, finishing 11-of-19 for 131 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“A lot of things to clean up, but we played well enough to get the win,” tight end George Kittle said. “That’s all you can ask for. Playoff football, anyone can win and we just made more plays today.”

Kittle had just three catches for 16 yards in the contest.

As a group including Kittle, San Francisco’s pass catchers (wideouts Deebo Samuel 3 catches for team-leading 42 yards, Bourne 3 catches for 40 yards, TD; and Emmanuel Sanders 2 catches for 33 yards) combined for just 11 catches for 131 yards and a score.

Minnesota quickly responded, tying the game up at 7-7 on a 41-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who had struggled in coverage down the stretch of the season, had great coverage on Diggs, but slipped at the 19-yard line and Diggs ran into the end zone.

But that would be Minnesota’s best highlight of the day as San Francisco would hold the Vikings to 147 yards of total offense. San Francisco’s offense racked up 308 yards total.

“The 49ers I felt were the better team today,” Cousins said after the game. “We didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance to win the game. It hurts now. Mike [Zimmer] said he was proud of the way the team fought this year, but right now, it’s just so raw. We’re kind of focused on this game and falling short. I thought the 49ers were a good team. They earned the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the way they played this season.”

San Francisco would retake the lead for good, behind the first of two rushing touchdowns by running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman capped off a 10-play, 53-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to give the 49ers a 14-7 lead.

“Those guys did very well,” Coleman said of his offensive line. “They moved the guys back so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”

Coleman finished the game with 105 yards on 22 carries.

Following an interception by linebacker Eric Kendricks inside the 49ers’ own territory, Minnesota added a 39-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.

On their first possession of the third quarter, San Francisco stretched its lead to 17-10 behind a 35-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.

After Richard Sherman intercepted Cousins inside Minnesota’s territory on the Vikings’ next possession, Coleman gave the 49ers a two-score lead with his second score of the game, a 2-yard run that increased San Francisco’s lead to 24-10.

It was Sherman’s third career playoff interception. Sherman has intercepted Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and now, Cousins.

Defensively, San Francisco overpowered Minnesota’s offense all day limiting the ground game and their play-action attack. Running back Dalvin Cook couldn’t find any running lanes, rushing for just 18 yards on nine carries.

“That was the No. 1 emphasis all week,” Bosa said of the Minnesota running game. “We knew we were facing probably the best back we’ve faced all year with Dalvin, and we knew we had to earn the right to pass rush. So, that’s what we did. We took the run as serious as we could, shut it down and then we ate.”

Bosa had a great start to his playoff career, registering two of San Francisco’s six sacks on the day. The returns of defensive Dee Ford, linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Jaquiski Tartt proved to be vital for San Francisco’s defense, that looked like its dominating self from earlier in the season.

“It was huge to have those guys back,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “They’re leaders on our team, talented players, they make big plays for us. We were missing some pieces out there, but to get those guys back, we hit back on all cylinders.”

At one point, the 49ers held the Vikings’ offense without a first down for 27 minutes of game time. Minnesota had mustered just seven first downs, compared to 21 by San Francisco. The 49ers held the Vikings to 2-of-13 on third downs and dominated time of possession (38:27 to 21:33).

“We were playing good the whole game,” Armstead continued. “They got us early with the touchdown. We just locked in. We knew what they wanted to do which was run the ball. It starts with that, stopping the run. I think we did a good job with that. I saw they only had twenty something yards. Once we did that, we were able to get after the passer. When you do that, you can have a complete game and shut people out.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garoppolo Outduels Brees in Instant Classic 48-46

Photo credit: cbssports.com

By: Joe Lami

The Niners walked off the field with the win and control of the number one seed as Robbie Gould’s 30-yard buzzer-beating field goal flew through the uprights with zeros on the clock in the Superdome on Sunday. The 48-46 shootout was an instant classic and the game of the year that included seven different lead changes.

“That’s as cool of a game as I’ve ever been part of,” said Kyle Shanahan.

Jimmy Garoppolo was elite in his best game as an NFL quarterback. Throwing for 349 yards, four touchdowns, for a 131.7 passer rating, Garoppolo led the Niners past the Saints in the Superdome despite his defense giving up 46 points. His day was nearly perfect minus a third-quarter interception that bounced in the air off of Emmanuel Sanders’ hands.

“You gotta give Jimmy Garoppolo credit. That was a shootout, and he got the last shot, said Richard Sherman.”

In the last month, Garoppolo’s averaged a 125.8 passer rating with three of those contests coming against division leaders Green Bay, Baltimore, and New Orleans. He also now sits with 25 touchdowns on the season, three shy of Lamar Jackson for the league lead.

Garoppolo’s final shot came after the Saints scored a go-ahead touchdown to go up by one. Due to a missed two-point conversion for the Saints earlier in the first quarter, New Orleans was forced to go for two again and were stuffed. Jimmy was given 53 seconds and three timeouts to march into field goal range for the win.

After a short pass and two incompletions, the Niners faced fourth and two when Garoppolo found Kittle, who made what’s become a typical “George Kittle type” play. Carrying two defenders and getting faced masked along the way, Kittle picked up 39 yards and an extra 14 for the penalty setting up the game-winning kick.

The 49ers’ defense is lucky for how well Garoppolo and the offense played. They were gashed all day by the Saints’ offense. Drew Brees had Garoppolo-type stats, throwing for 349, five touchdowns, and one rushing. He had one more passing TD than Jimmy, but Emmanuel Sanders stole that one when he threw to Raheem Mostert on a trick play in the second quarter.

Receivers on both sides of the ball were benefactors to the quarterback play. Michael Thomas led New Orleans, catching 11 balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. Jarred Cook was Brees’ early option, catching the first two New Orleans’ touchdowns before leaving the game with a concussion. Tre’Quan Smith and Josh Hill caught the other touchdowns.

Emmanuel Sanders led the Niners with seven catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also threw the 35-yard dart to Mostert in his best game as a Niner. Kittle finished with 76 yards, after man-handling the Saints for 39 on the last drive. Kendrick Bourne caught two touchdowns on three receptions for 18 yards.

Deebo Samuel continues to break out and appear like a future pro-bowler for the red and gold. The second-round rookie caught five balls for 76 yards. He also rushed for 33 yards on two carries.

The Niners also rushed the ball exceptional again. Mostert rushed for 69 yards on ten carries and scored on the ground as well. Matt Brieda, coming off his ankle injury, was limited but looked good in spurts, rushing for 54 yards on six carries.

There were plenty of holes and things of concern for San Francisco, but it was all over-shadowed by Garoppolo’s play. The special teams allowed 192 yards to Denote Harris on kick and punt returns. The undrafted rookie had 14 go for touchdowns while at Assumption College.

Most concerning, center, Weston Richburg went down with what appeared to be a serious knee and ankle injury in the third quarter. After being carted off the field, Ben Garland filled-in his shoes and was decent. But losing Richburg for the remainder of the season could be critical for the playoff-stretch.

The Niners finished their toughest stretch of the season, going 2-1 against the divisional leaders and now control their destiny for home-field advantage. They’ll wrap up a playoff position tonight if the Rams lose to the Seahawks.

Garoppolo’s Career Day Powers Comeback for Niners

Photo credit: cbssports.com

By: Joe Lami

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers continue to find ways to win football games and improve to 9-1. On Sunday, they came firing back from a 16-point deficit despite not having a run game to beat Arizona 36-26. It also marks the first time since 2013 San Francisco has swept Arizona in the season series. Coincidently, 2013 was also the 49ers’ last winning season.

Jimmy Garoppolo joined rarified air in Niners’ history, joining Joe Montana and Steve Young as the only players to throw 400+ yards and four touchdowns in a single game. Garoppolo shattered his previous career-high of 371 yards, passing for 424, yet wasn’t perfect throwing two interceptions in the process.

Jimmy was forced to be excellent, with no support from a run game that finished with 34 yards on 19 carries and leading the comeback. His 424 yards were the 10th most in San Francisco history. Garoppolo did so without George Kittle and with Emmanuel Sanders limited. Instead, he used the entire roster to his advantage, completing receptions to ten different receivers.

Ross Dwelley was the star on Sunday, standing in for the injured Kittle, catching four balls for 14 yards and two touchdowns and is proving himself to be the swiss-army knife the red and gold need. They marked his first two career touchdowns of his NFL career.

The Cardinals jumped on the Niners’ early, especially targeting Richard Sherman, who was tacked with three pass interference penalties in the opening half. The first came on Arizona’s opening possession and pinned San Francisco inside their own five-yard line on a third down. Fortunately, the Niners defense bent but didn’t break, forcing Zane Gonzalez to kick a 26-yard field goal.

Later in the first quarter, Kyler Murray found Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone for the hall-of-famer’s 118th TD reception of his career. Zane Gonzalez kept the score at 9-0 after a missed PAT.

Arizona took the 16-point advantage in the second quarter when Kyler Murray found Pharoh Cooper for his second touchdown of the day. Murray was electric, and one can see why the Cardinals spent their first-overall pick on him. His 150 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and three touchdowns don’t do him enough justice. The Niners’ defense adjusted, clamped down, and made his life difficult for the majority of the day.

The Niners looked dead to rights in the second quarter until they ran a screen pass to the left side to Richie James Jr. James showcased his incredible speed, darting down the sideline for 57 yards and sparking the 49ers’ offense and setting up Dwelley’s first score.

The Niners cut the deficit to six, as Chase McLaughlin nailed a 43-yard field goal to end the half.

San Francisco made it 17-unanswered points, scoring on the second half’s opening drive with Dwelley’s second TD of the day to take a 17-16 lead. After another Gonzlez field goal, San Francisco would re-take the lead again early in the fourth with Kendrick Bourne’s third touchdown of the season, making it 23-19 after a missed two-point conversion.

Shanahan mentioned his chart and being “the right thing to do” when explaining the two-point attempt.

Murray ran in his only rushing touchdown of the game from 22-yards out to retake the lead at 26-23 with 6:30 to go. The ball and game would fall onto the lap of Jimmy G once again.

In his first attempt, a deflected ball targeting Dwelley was intercepted with 4:41 to play. Luckily, the defense had his back, buckled down, and ensured he would get a second chance at the comeback.

Jimmy G drove down the field, bringing the ball inside the 30-yard line. With under a minute to go, a short pass to Dwelley on third-and-three triggered a lengthy review on whether or not the Tight End picked up the first down. Following the review and with a first down, Shanahan drew up the perfect play, targeting Jeff Wilson Jr. in his first snap of the game. Wilson found himself wide open and scampered into the end-zone for the last-minute touchdown.

“Kyle’s a mastermind. I give [all the credit] to him, I can’t give any credit to me. He called the right play for me. I just did what I had to do to make a play,” explained Wilson Jr. He became the 12th different receiver to haul in a touchdown from Garoppolo on the year.

The Niners put a feather in the cap on a crazy defensive score to finish the game. DJ Reed was credited with the score after an errant Fitzgerald lateral as time expired, making it 36-26.

The Niner’s ability to find various ways of winning continues to be their greatest strength. They’ll need to rely on these early experiences and the success they’ve seen as the schedule continues to get tougher. In the next three weeks, we’ll fully comprehend what the red and gold are made of, with Green Bay in town next weekend before back-to-back road games against the Ravens and Saints.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Can Raiders make it three in a row against the Pack?; Garoppolo, 49ers take lots of confidence to Seattle this Sunday; plus more

Photo credit: @Raiders

On Headline Sports podcast with London:

#1 For the Oakland Raiders, they’re nice and rested from their jet lag after their trip to London on October 6th and a bye week on October 13th. Now they prepare to play a Green Bay Packers (5-1) team, who are coming off a 23-22 narrow edge victory against the Detroit Lions last Monday Night Football. Can the Raiders pull off their third straight win at the Frozen Tundra this Sunday?

#2 The Packers got a late field goal in the fourth quarter — a 23-yarder with just over a minute left in the game from kicker Mason Crosby after quarterback Aaron Rogers took two knees before electing to kick a field goal for the one point win.

#3 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has no doubts and lots of confidence going into these games, on Sunday against the LA Rams Garoppolo threw 24-33 for 243 yards and their fifth straight win 20-7.

#4 The Sacramento Kings picked up their first preseason win against the Utah Jazz Monday night with a 128-115 victory. The Kings’ Buddy Hield was all over the place with 23 points and he was the key to the offense in the Kings win.

#5 In the baseball playoffs, the Houston Astros took a 2-1 ALCS lead over the New York Yankees on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The Astros’ Garrett Cole threw for seven innings, four hits, five walks, and seven strikeouts.

London Marq does Headline Sports podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com