Dolphins vs. SF 49ers: 3 matchups Niners must win in Week 5

Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins runs against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Whichever SF 49ers Quarterback vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick

In Week 1’s loss to the Cardinals, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was outplayed by Arizona’s Kyler Murray. In the Week 4 loss to the Eagles, quarterback Carson Wentz outplayed Nick Mullens.

Garoppolo outplayed the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold in Week 2, while Mullens was vastly better than New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in Week 3.

Call it a simplistic trend, but the Niners’ 2020 win-loss record is centering around which quarterback ends up having the better game.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

It’s unclear who winds up starting for Kyle Shanahan’s squad this Sunday. Garoppolo, who was limited in practice on Wednesday, is still working his way back from a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 2. Mullens would have ideally been the second-tier option, but his flameouts versus Philly on Sunday Night Football prompted Shanahan to insert No. 3 quarterback C.J. Beathard into the fold.

And Beathard accounted for himself pretty well on two desperate drives, albeit against some pretty soft coverage by the Eagles defense.

San Francisco’s starter remains an open-ended question for now. But whoever it is, he’ll have to outperform Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick, 38 years old, has tossed four touchdowns against five interceptions already this season, equating to a 83.5 passer rating on the year. But Wentz was struggling a lot before his matchup with the SF 49ers, too, and Fitzpatrick could also end up using his legs against a suspect Niners defense struggling against mobile quarterbacks.

To date, Fitzpatrick has rushed for 115 yards, two touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per attempt.

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Not bad for an aging veteran, and that’s something that could ultimately work against San Francisco’s favor this Sunday.