Garoppolo claims for 4 TDs, 49ers top Cards in Mexico City ( News Hawaii )

MEXICO CITY – As the final minute of the clock ticked, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo turned to the crowd at the Estadio Azteca, raised his hands above his head and began to applaud.

It was clear that the Mexico City 49ers loved the crowd.

Jimmy G and the 49ers gave that love — and some really good football — right back.

Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes, including two to Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and the 49ers captured their third straight by blowing out the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 on Monday night in Mexico City.

“The whole atmosphere tonight was like nothing I played in,” Garoppolo said. “It was electric, the fans were nuts, they were cheering the whole game. It seemed like at some point the soccer game was just getting emotional. It was really cool. I like to do it.

He played the fifth regular-season NFL game in Mexico City and the first since 2019. Technically a home game by the Cardinals, a festive, raucous, announced crowd of 78,427 fans heavily favored the 49ers, especially when Kittle and Deebo Samuel each scored 39-yard touchdowns.

“Man, I love San Francisco, but if we can’t be there, I love being here,” 49ers quarterback Kyle Shanahan said. “This place is awesome. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve been a part of.”

San Francisco (6-4) has won five of its last seven and is tied with the Seahawks atop the NFC West. Garoppolo had another efficiency, completing 22 passes for 228 yards.

It was a tight game for much of the first half, but the 49ers pulled away in the middle, jumping ahead 24-10 early in the third quarter on a nifty play near the end.

Samuel took the pitch and ripped it 39 yards, weaving his way through the Cardinals defense to the end zone.

“It was really one of those poison-picking kind of nights,” Garoppolo said. “They tried to take away the course, so we passed, and then vice versa. It was a good night.”

He capped a powerful eight-game San Francisco drive, which included seven home runs. Aiyuk’s second touchdown catch of the night — this one from 14 yards — put the 49ers up 31-10 later in the third.

“I hope we made a good impression,” 49ers defensive end Joey Bosa said.

The Cardinals (4-7) played their second straight game without Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray, who suffered a major injury. Quarterback Colt McCoy had a 3-1 record in the starting spot over the past two seasons — including a tie over the Rams last week — but couldn’t recreate the same magic in Mexico.

McCoy completed 24 of 34 passes for 218 yards and an interception. The 49ers hit him hard on multiple occasions, connecting on three sacks.

“It’s a bummer we just didn’t find a way to win that game,” McCoy said. “But San Francisco played hard. They are a good football team, and we just didn’t make enough plays. But for the crowd, for being able to play in Mexico City for an international atmosphere, I thought it was fantastic.

The 49ers took a 17-10 lead into halftime after Robbie Gould connected on a 39-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the second quarter. A capped first half back that saw the teams gain nearly identical measurements: the 49ers had a 186-185 advantage.

The Cardinals pushed the Cardinals to a 3-0 lead midway through the quarter on Matt Prater’s field goal, as both teams battled through a steady rain that began around kickoff and continued throughout much of the first half.

The 49ers responded early in the second when Garoppolo hit Aiyuk over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown, capping a nine-play, 82-yard drive. San Francisco’s McCoy on the next drive was blocked after a pass was thrown by James Conner and picked up out of the air by Jimmie Ward.

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

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

Arizona’s defense looked gassed in the second half, missing many tackles as the game slowly slipped out of hand.

“That was a really good team,” Cardinals quarterback Kliff Kingsbury said. “We know we’re going to play as well as we’ve played all year. And I thought they really played physical in that middle part and made their way to the games.

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