The San Francisco 49ers held off the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football to open Week 9, keeping their perfect record intact and move to 8-0. The 49ers won 28-25 on the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo, as he played the best game of his career. The Cardinals drop to 3-5-1 on the season.
The 49ers came up short of covering the -10.5 line, dropping to 5-3 against the spread, while the Cardinals improved their ATS to 6-3 on the season. The 43-point over hit with the help of Kyler Murray putting together three touchdown drives over 70 yards against a tenacious 49ers defense.
Garoppolo put together a stellar real-life and fantasy game as he completed 28-of-37 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns. The Cardinals pass defense isn’t good, but Garoppolo had thrown nine touchdowns through seven games and hadn’t topped 300 yards, as his team won through running the ball and defense. This was an eye-opening game for anyone who doubted Garoppolo could take over.
Garoppolo might not have been the biggest surprise though, as freshly acquired Kenyan Drake ran all over the 49ers, carrying the ball 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown and catching all four of his targets for 52 more yards after being with the team for just a handful of days. He got the start due to Chase Edmonds and David Johnson both out with injuries, but his performance will be hard to dismiss by Kliff Kingsbury and his staff.
Another newly acquired player put up big numbers, but this was for the 49ers, as Emmanuel Sanders caught 7-of-9 targets for 112 yards and a touchdown. There is no doubt who the No. 1 wide receiver in San Francisco is now. His main competition for targets will continue to be George Kittle, who also had a strong fantasy day with 6-of-8 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. Kittle finally has some competition, but the two will likely see enough work as the top dogs to keep a good fantasy upside.
Kyler Murray turned an okay day int a good fantasy day when he hit speedster Andy Isabella for an 88-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the Cardinals within three points. For the game, Murray completed 17-of-24 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns while rushing five times for 34 yards. Despite some rough patches against this stout defense, Murray persevered and played a clean game, giving his team a chance to take out an undefeated team.
The biggest disappointment was Tevin Coleman, who was coming off a huge four-touchdown game in Carolina, only to be stifled by a not-great Cardinals defense. He finished with 12 carries for 23 yards and caught 2-of-4 targets for 13 yards. His counterpart, Matt Breida, who had an ankle injury and was considered questionable, ran the ball 15 times for 78 yards and caught both his targets for 14 yards. Coleman would have likely seen more work if he had been more efficient, but Breida was the superior player on Thursday night. They will continue to split work.
George Kittle had an early scare as a defender hit his knee with his helmet, putting Kittle on the ground in obvious pain. He shook it off to truck the whole Cardinals defense on a touchdown catch and run, but he wasn’t 100 percent for the rest of the game. It’s likely a good thing that San Francisco will get extra rest with the 49ers next game coming on Monday night.