In a game that could have gone either way, the Niners pulled out a last minute win against the Arizona Cardinals, a team definitely on the rise. In the last three games (Cardinals at AZ, Seahawks at home, and the Cardinals again at home), a defensive blueprint against the Niner Offense has been established. They played 8 in the box to take away the Niner run game and dared Garoppolo to beat them with his arm. The Niners went 2-1 as Jimmy G had 2 career efforts against the Cardinals by throwing 8 TD’s while amassing 741 passing yards. These past three games were also very challenging on the Niner Defense as Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, with their mobility and accuracy in their passing and running games were on full display.
With the limited Niner receivers who were able to play, Deebo Samuels had a break-out game while E-Man Sanders played a limited role due to rib injuries. Deebo had 8 clutch catches for 143 yards and made a highlight “Toe Drag Swag” catch as he reached over the Cardinal defender’s back (All-Pro Patrick Peterson), tipped it up as it bounced off of Peterson’s helmet, and stayed focused on the ball to clutch it while he was able to drag both feet on the field of play before being dumped on his shoulder which he injured on that play. He gutted it out and played the remainder of the game with that injury and made crucial catches down the stretch. Deebo deserves the game ball for his tremendous effort.
The next three games for the Niners are historically difficult. They play the Packers (8-2 and division leaders), at the Ravens (8-2 and division leaders), and at the Saints (8-2 and divison leaders). No team has ever had to face 3 consecutive teams with .800 winning percentages in the history of the NFL. The Niners are 100% focused on the Packers this week. They won’t think about the Ravens until Monday and the Saints until the following Monday.
It appears that George Kittle will be returning from knee and ankle injuries in time for the Packers game. This is huge as he is a premier run blocker and a super-human pass catcher/runner. No doubt, his presence will help both the running and passing game. With Kyle Juszczyk (Juice), who came back from a knee injury for the Cardinals game and played outstandingly, and with Kittle coming back, the Niner Offense should return to normalcy and put up some impressive numbers as long as they remain healthy.
While Kittle was out, Ross Dwelley also had a break-out game hauling in 2 TD’s. He was also the guy who caught the key 3rd down play in the first Cardinals game to ice the win for the Niners. Lastly, Jeff Wilson, played 1 snap last Sunday and it happened to be the biggest play of the game as he scored the game winning TD on his one and only play. Both Dwelley and Wilson were undrafted signings last year and I had hoped that the Niners could find a way to keep both of them. While they didn’t make the roster last year as rookies, they worked hard and are making huge contributions to the team this year. I love to see underdogs achieving their dreams and feel really happy for both Ross and Jeff.