49ers have to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 9 vs. Cardinals, right?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

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The 49ers just watched Jimmy Garoppolo have his best game of the season against the Bears in Week 8, meaning he has to start next week versus the Cardinals.

If San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was slowly coming around to the idea of benching his veteran quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, in favor of the up-and-coming rookie signal-caller Trey Lance, the Niners’ Week 8 road win over the Chicago Bears might have suggested a likely postponement.

San Francisco got off to a slow start against rookie quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears but still managed to pull off a 33-22 victory to improve to 3-4 on the season.

And without question, the road game in Garoppolo’s home neck of the woods was his best of the year.

Garoppolo entered the game completing 64.8 percent of his passes and in the wake of an embarrassing outing where he and the 49ers were outdueled in a rainstorm at Levi’s Stadium by quarterback Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts, ultimately finishing his follow-up efforts at Chicago by going 17-of-28 for 322 yards, two rushing touchdowns (strange) against zero interceptions and posting a 100.6 passer rating, eventually outdoing Fields despite the latter’s own impressive outing.

All the while, Garoppolo knows what the rest of the league knows: Lance is the Niners’ future, not Jimmy G.

Up until Week 8, perhaps that was a distraction for Garoppolo. Against the Bears, it might have served as motivation. Either way, the win-starved San Francisco squad will take the much-needed victory.

“I thought he played real well,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo after the game. “I don’t think anything was bothering him much in the game. He seemed healthier. I thought he had a hell of a game, and I thought guys made some plays for him, too.”

If Shanahan was going to ultimately give into Lance being named the official starter from this point forward, Garoppolo’s Week 8 outing won’t help that one bit.

49ers sure can’t bench Jimmy Garoppolo for Trey Lance vs. Cardinals in Week 9

If Garoppolo struggled throughout the game, particularly with the 49ers going 2-of-6 on third downs in the first half, Shanahan’s decision might have been a lot easier.

Especially with recent news the Niners’ Week 9 opponent, the one-loss Arizona Cardinals, are expecting to be without star quarterback Kyler Murray for one to three weeks with an ankle sprain, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

Murray and the Cardinals defeated a Garoppolo-less, Lance-led San Francisco squad 17-10 back in Week 5. And despite Lance’s first start revealing his rawness, there were certainly instances where the rookie showed why he was the No. 3 overall pick from last spring’s draft.

Lance, who didn’t get any snaps in Week 8 against the Bears, could have easily been named the starter if Garoppolo came out flat and the 49ers suffered a fifth consecutive loss in Chicago.

Related Story: How Jimmy Garoppolo gets back on track vs. Bears in Week 8

Now that they didn’t, there’s simply no way Shanahan can bench Jimmy G after his best game of the year.

Even if that might not be the right call for the long run. Plus, if Garoppolo does end up starting — and it would be almost guaranteed he will — Lance should still wind up getting more snaps against a Cardinals team short Murray and also without EDGE J.J. Watt in what could be a much-needed turning point in what’s been a frustrating season so far.

The Niners get back on the field against Arizona on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium, a venue that hasn’t seen a San Francisco victory in over a year’s time.

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