Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
Another week, another San Francisco 49ers victory. The team improved to 8-0 after a 28-25 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Halloween night. Now that we’re midway through their second de facto bye week, how does the team’s stock look?
Stock Up: Jimmy Garoppolo Was Rolling, Baby
For the first time in his career, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo totaled four touchdown passes in a single game. He finished the game with 317 yards passing and shared the love with scoring throws to four different players: tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, WR Kendrick Bourne and WR Dante Pettis. Garoppolo’s night could have been much bigger but drops hurt the offense and his final stat line. However, that didn’t shake his confidence after the win.
Stock Down: Defense Loses Their Heartbeat
When linebacker Kwon Alexander was signed as a free agent during the offseason, many thought that he was being overpaid. Through seven games, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alexander formed one of the best linebacker duos with Fred Warner and was often the heart and soul of the defense. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle that landed him on the injured reserve Tuesday. Not only will defensive coordinator Robert Saleh have to replace his play on the field, he’ll have to find a way to replace the energy he brings to the squad.
Stock Up: Emmanuel Sanders, WR1
With only nine days in a 49ers uniform, Emmanuel Sanders had already established himself as the team’s new number one target on the outside. He followed up his 4-catch, 25-yard, and 1-touchdown performance against the Carolina Panthers with an incredible 7-112-1. Considering how little time he has had to develop a rapport with Garoppolo, it is very impressive how productive he has been. When acquired, his numbers would have led the 49ers’ receivers in all categories while he was playing with the likes of QB Joe Flacco in Denver. It’s not hard to envision him continuing to be a major cog in the offense moving forward.
Stock Down: Opposing Team Finally Hits a Home Run
Much of the success of the 49ers’ defense can be attributed to keeping most of the plays in front of them. Through the first seven games, the defense only allowed four plays of 35 yard or longer. On Thursday, they allowed for Cardinals’ running back Kenyan Drake to scamper for 36 yards on the opening drive and WR Andy Isabella to get behind the defense for a season-long 89-yard touchdown. Thursday night football games will always favor the offense and that was very much on display against Arizona.
Stock Up: A Glimpse of 2018 George Kittle
Many a fantasy owner had been upset with TE George Kittle’s production before Thursday night. His 40 catches, 462 yards and lone touchdown were a far cry from his record-breaking season just a year ago. That changed when Kittle caught a strike from Garoppolo across the middle and proceeded to big-body his way into the end zone. His ferocious running after the catch was remnant of the dominance he displayed in 2018 and brought back fond memories for 49ers fans and fantasy owners alike. With the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, Kittle’s numbers on the stat sheet could be matching his impact on the game.
Stock Up: The Kicking Game Did Their Jobs
Look, I said before that I would list the 49ers special teams unit in the “Stock Down” category until they completed a game without any miscues. Against the Cardinals, kicker Robbie Gould banged home four extra points in four tries. It was the first mistake-free game of the year. Not much else to see here.
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