How Jimmy Garoppolo finding early rhythm paved way for 49ers' win

How Jimmy Garoppolo finding early rhythm paved way for 49ers' win

What a difference one week can do. For Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers quarterback looked like a completely different player in Sunday's 41-17 blowout win over the Bengals. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan had Garoppolo in a groove right away. The QB completed four of his five pass attempts over the 49ers' first two drives, and each ended in a Garoppolo touchdown. Jimmy G connected with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for his first TD and dumped a screen pass to running back Raheem Mostert for San Francisco's second score. 

Former 49ers quarterback and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Jeff Garcia noticed a much improved version of Garoppolo right from the get-go.

"First of all, he got into a rhythm early," Garcia said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. "He made a big throw for a touchdown on kind of a special-developing route to Goodwin. I think any time you're able to connect on those type of throws or have those type of plays, it creates confidence.

"I think for the most part, his rhythm and just getting the ball out of his hands was excellent today."

Garoppolo -- who completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 297 yards, three touchdowns and an interception -- also was on his feet all game long. While the 49ers sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times, Garoppolo wasn't sacked once. 

But Garoppolo and the rest of the 49ers' offense will be without a key cog for multiple weeks. Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley broke his left fibula, but he will not need season-ending surgery and says he should be back in six to eight weeks. 

"Joe is a leader on that offensive line," Garcia said. "He's a savvy veteran. He's so good at protecting the backside. He's dependable. You have a guy like that on your left side protecting the edge, you gain trust. That's huge for Jimmy." 

Justin Skule, the 49ers' sixth-round pick from the 2019 NFL Draft, replaced Staley. Skule has suited up in two NFL games, Staley has 176 regular-season games under his belt. 

Not only will Garoppolo miss Staley, the 49ers' stable of running backs will as well. San Francisco racked up 572 total yards against the Bengals, with 259 coming on the ground. Matt Breida led the way with 121 yards on 12 carries, but backups Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. combined to score three touchdowns. 

Garcia believes the running game played a key role in Garoppolo's big day. 

"When you have a running game, that's what creates your opportiunity through play action and movement and moving in the pocket," Garcia said. "I think they really kept Cincinnati off guard today. From a defensive standpoint, they didn't know what's coming at them, what's hitting them."

After two games, the one thing Garcia still is looking for from the 49ers' offense is a true No. 1 receiver. Dante Pettis continues to disappoint and didn't register one reception Sunday. Goodwin is there to take the top off the defense but is a role player. 

A rookie, though, already has caught Garcia's attention. 

"Somebody needs to step into that role, and I think I see a lot of good things out of Deebo Samuel," Garcia said. 

Samuel led the 49ers with five receptions and 87 yards. The second-round draft pick also caught his first career touchdown. And while there might not be a traditional top dog at receiver for the 49ers, Garoppolo showed trust in the group and eight different players hauled in a catch against the Bengals defense. 

[RELATED: Garcia sees Staley's recovery taking longer than 8 weeks]

"Jimmy did a great job of spreading the wealth, spreading the ball around today," Garcia said. "... Outside of one throw -- the interception -- which was really just a poor decision forced into coverage, he was excellent with the football." 

Garoppolo will show signs of rust at times after tearing his ACL in the third game last season, but he also showed why he could be the one to finally lead the 49ers back to the playoffs.

Watch Kyle Shanahan's postgame speech after 49ers' win vs. Washington

Watch Kyle Shanahan's postgame speech after 49ers' win vs. Washington

Kyle Shanahan was quite pleased with his team's effort in San Francisco's 9-0 win over Washington on Sunday.

"We talked about making it our house, man," the 49ers coach said during his postgame speech in the locker room. "That was our house!"

It wasn't pretty, and how could it have been, given the unrelenting downpour and the mud that covered FedEx Field. But a win is a win, and Shanahan was happy to see his players get one last dip in the dirt after achieving victory.

"There was no cooler thing to me than watching 53 guys go sliding, doing angels across the field," he said of San Francisco's Slip-N-Slide procession.

The hard-fought win stood in contrast to previous successes, such as the 49ers' 24-point victory in Cincinnati in Week 2. Shanahan wanted his team to derive confidence from that knowledge, while also not losing sight of the ultimate goal.

"Guys we're just getting started, alright," Shanahan said in closing. "We can win a game in any way. We had seven starters out today. We bonded together, we'll get some back, but it doesn't matter. 

"This room, we've got something special. Let's keep this s--t going."

[RELATED: Panthers to start Allen at QB, not Cam, vs. 49ers in Week 8]

Next up for San Francisco is a home game against Carolina in Week 8. Safe to say, there won't be as much mud in that one.

Why Kyle Shanahan thinks 49ers' answers at wide receiver are on team

Why Kyle Shanahan thinks 49ers' answers at wide receiver are on team

Eight days before the NFL trade deadline, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that he does not feel as much urgency to add a veteran receiver in the middle of the season than in his previous two. 

“I think less (urgency) than we’ve had in the last couple of years because I do see that there are guys in our building that I do think the answers are here,” Shanahan told reporters Monday in Santa Clara, amid reports that the 49ers are in the market to add a wide receiver.

The 49ers played Sunday without rookie receiver Deebo Samuel, who injured his groin a week earlier against the Los Angeles Rams. Marquise Goodwin played just seven snaps before leaving with an injury Sunday. He was evaluated for a concussion but was cleared. Goodwin is not in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Shanahan said.

San Francisco also hopes to get Trent Taylor and rookie Jalen Hurd back later in the season. Both players are on injured reserve. They are eligible to return after sitting out eight games from the time they went on IR.

“It was tough not having Deebo last week and Marquise being a little bit banged up, we’ll get both of those two back,” Shanahan said. “The guys we have I still think can continue to get better. We’re still holding out hopes, too, for Jalen and Trent Taylor that they can heal up and hopefully return later this year.

“We’re always looking to improve, but I do like the guys we have here.”

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders stand pat in power rankings following Week 7]

Tight end George Kittle is the 49ers' top pass-catcher with 34 receptions for 376 yards and one touchdown. Samuel leads the wideouts in receptions with 15 catches for 168 yards, while Goodwin has 11 catches for 181 yards. Samuel and Goodwin have one TD apiece. Kendrick Bourne had his best game of the season on Sunday with three catches for 69 yards in the 49ers' 9-0 victory over Washington.

Dante Pettis, a second-round pick in 2018, has not produced up to expectations. He has nine catches for 83 yards and one touchdown.