Jimmy Garoppolo throws four touchdowns in Cardinals rout of 49ers

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Jimmy Garoppolo throws four touchdowns in Cardinals rout of 49ers
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MEXICO CITY — Jimmy Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes, including two to Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and the San Francisco 49ers won their third straight game by beating the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 Monday night in Mexico City.

It was the fifth regular season NFL game played in Mexico City and the first since 2019. Technically a home game for the Cardinals, the reported festive and boisterous crowd of 78,427 fans at the Estadio Azteca heavily favored the 49ers. , roaring especially loud when Kittle and Deebo Samuel each scored on 39-yard touchdowns.

San Francisco (6-4) has won five of its last seven games and is tied with the Seahawks for the top of the NFC West. Garoppolo had another effective performance, completing 20 of 29 passes for 228 yards.

It was a tight game for much of the first half, but the 49ers pulled away in the second half, jumping ahead 24-10 early in the third quarter on shrewd end-to-end play. Samuel took the field and sprinted for 39 yards, breaking through the Cardinals defense on his way to the end zone.

He capped a mighty eight-game drive in San Francisco that included seven running games. Aiyuk’s second touchdown of the night — this one from 14 yards — put the 49ers up 31-10 later in the third.

The Cardinals (4-7) went their second straight game without Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray, struggling with hamstring pain. Backup Colt McCoy was 3-1 in starts the past two seasons — including a win over the Rams last week — but couldn’t recreate the same magic in Mexico.

George Kittle Scores One Of His Two Touchdowns.
George Kittle scores one of his two touchdowns.
Reuters

McCoy completed 24 of 34 passes for 218 yards and one interception. The 49ers hit him hard repeatedly, connecting for three sacks

The 49ers went 17-10 at halftime after Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the second quarter. That capped a back-and-forth first half that saw the teams earn nearly identical amounts of yardage: the 49ers had an 186-185 advantage.

The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter on Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal as both teams faced steady rain that started around kickoff and continued for much of the first half.

Brandon Aiyuk Celebrates After Scoring.
Brandon Aiyuk celebrates after scoring.
USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers responded early in the second when Garoppolo hit Aiyuk down the middle for a 7-yard touchdown, capping a nine-play, 82-yard drive. San Francisco intercepted McCoy on ensuing practice after a pass bounced off James Conner’s hand and was snatched in the air by Jimmie Ward.

San Francisco capitalized three plays later when Garoppolo escaped the pressure and threw a pass to Kittle, who tossed two Arizona defenders then headed into the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

The cavernous Estadio Azteca – home to two of Mexico’s top soccer teams – sits at an elevation of around 7,200 feet, which is much higher than San Francisco and Phoenix. The 49ers opted to train at altitude this week in Colorado, while the Cardinals decided to stay at their home training facility in Tempe, Arizona.

Arizona’s defense looked gassed in the second half, missing several tackles as the game slowly spiraled out of control.

New York Post

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