49ers vs. Cardinals score: Jimmy Garoppolo throws four TDs in Mexico City as San Francisco takes NFC West lead

49ers vs.  Cardinals score: Jimmy Garoppolo throws four TDs in Mexico City as San Francisco takes NFC West lead

49ers vs. Cardinals score: Jimmy Garoppolo throws four TDs in Mexico City as San Francisco takes NFC West lead

The Cardinals got a solid performance from Colt McCoy in Week 10 when backup Kyler Murray filled in for an injured center. On Monday night, starting at quarterback once again, he barely had a chance to tackle DeMeco Ryans 49ers defense. With Arizona trying to win its second straight game and move closer to .500 in the NFC West, he and the Cardinals went on the chin in front of a roaring Mexico City crowd. San Francisco had nine tackles for loss and two fumbles as Jimmy Garoppolo ran the ball in one of his best outings of the year, leading Kyle Shanahan’s team to a 38-10 record. win to take the lead in the division.

Arizona kept things close until halftime, when McCoy fed DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner scored a touchdown in the second quarter. But the 49ers pulled away early in the second half, with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk making big gains in a team-wide victory. They move to 6-4 with the decision, dropping Arizona to 4-7.

Here are some other takeaways from Monday’s cross-border rally:

Why the 49ers won

You can start with the defense, which has often been their mainstay under Ryans: Respected as a possible fill-in for Murray, Colt McCoy never stood a chance with the Cardinals trailing and Nick Bosa and Co. pinning their ears back. San Francisco totaled “only” three sacks, but the front four affected Arizona’s pocket on the regular season, battering the veteran QB until Trace McSorley replaced him late. Bosa alone had three QB hits, Dre Greenlaw, Kevin Givens and Fred Warner also inhabited the backfield.

Offensively, they were just as impressive as the 49ers, if not more so. Jimmy Garoppolo has had an underrated year, but he had easily his best outing of 2022, even though Kyle Shanahan ran away from him on a run approach. Not only did the QB adjust to the right mobility in the pocket, but everyone was involved at the right time, allowing McCaffrey (over 100 yards), Samuel (over 90 yards), Aiyuk (2 TDs) and George Kittle (2 TDs). to have moments of focus. With quick decisions and accurate passing, they were incredibly effective, even when trailing in time of possession.

Why the Cardinals lost

It starts with Kliff Kingsbury’s attack, as has often been the case. While Colt McCoy led the club early, his line didn’t hold up as the game wore on, and not even then. Thanks to Rondale Moore’s last outing with an injury at the start of Greg Dortch’s catch, the only thing that worked were Hopkins’ throws, as he still never managed a breakaway play. James Conner got quite a bit of work, but did little with it. And a pair of failed fourth-down attempts compounded the problems, as did five penalties by an undisciplined NFL lineup. They also wore down defensively, giving Garoppolo almost no pressure down the stretch and a half-hearted effort on Kittle’s second TD that sealed the loss.

Turning point

Down just 7-3 in the second, the Cardinals were moving pretty well, threatening their second score of the night while keeping Hopkins busy on the outside. At midfield, however, they backtracked after the star receiver was flagged for taunting after a first-down catch in traffic. Then, two plays later, McCoy had a rebound off the hands of James Conner and into the diving arms of Jimmie Ward. Of course, Arizona bounced back with a TD drive of their own later in the quarter, but that turnover led to a quick 49ers score and kept the momentum going in San Francisco’s favor for the rest of the contest.

the game

You might say Garoppolo’s first TD, a bullet to Aiyuk in tight coverage; or his second, after climbing a wide Kittle in the pocket; But Samuel’s reverse, which promptly outran the Cardinals’ entire defense down the sideline, served as a reminder of how explosive he can be in multiple roles for San Francisco:

What’s next

The 49ers (6-4) return home on Thanksgiving Weekend to host the Saints (4-7), who overcame the Rams in Week 11 with a big day from Andy Dalton. The Cardinals (4-7), on the other hand, will take over. Chargers (5-5), fresh off a first period loss to the rival Chiefs.

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