The San Francisco 49ers maintained their unblemished record with a 28-25 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night. With their 8-0 record intact for a little while until their next game, Niner Noise takes a look at the top performances from the NFC West clash.
As well as everything went in Week 8 for the San Francisco 49ers, where they were humming in all phases of the game en route to a 51-13 pounding of the Carolina Panthers, at times it felt like the opposite was true during their 28-25 win in Week 9 over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.
For the first time all year, the Niners defense looked beatable. They allowed Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to beat them as both a passer and a runner, and looked vulnerable against the run, as new Arizona running back Kenyan Drake racked up 19 total touches for 162 yards and one touchdown.
The Cardinals offense finished the game with 357 yards of total offense on just 50 plays (7.1 yards per play), and Murray became the first quarterback in weeks to amass more than 100 yards passing, although a large chunk of the 204 yards allowed came on a late 88-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella to shrink the 49ers lead to three.
So unlike in recent weeks, where the defense dominated and the offense only had to do just enough to secure victory, the script was flipped. The 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan leaned on their offense for victory.
Not to mention the fact Arizona’s defense, who came into the game 26th against the run, according to Football Outsiders‘ DVOA (1.3 percent), held the vaunted Niners rushing attack to just 101 yards and a measly 3.3 yards per carry.
And so all the questions about whether 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could win a game for his team came into full view on Thursday.
Garoppolo delivered in a big way.
It should come as no surprise, then, the top performances are all offensive based (although honorable mention to the defensive line for creating good, if not excellent pressure at times), starting with the gutsiest 49er of the evening, tight end George Kittle.