Through many of the 49ers' first nine games, San Francisco could rely on a dominant defense and impressive running game. On Sunday, the game came down to Jimmy Garoppolo's right arm.
The well-paid QB came through. Outside of two frustrating interceptions -- a pattern that has set 49ers Twitter ablaze -- Jimmy G picked apart Arizona's defense. His 25-yard game-winning touchdown pass to running back Jeff Wilson Jr. with only 31 seconds left was the cherry on top of a historic performance in San Francisco's 36-26 victory.
Garoppolo completed 34 of 45 pass attempts for a career-high 424 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and two interceptions. He became the third 49ers quarterback in franchise history to pass for at least 400 yards and four touchdowns in the same game, joining Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young.
"He did a hell of a job," Shanahan said of Garoppolo after the win. "Really played unbelievable."
Prior to Garoppolo's performance Sunday, Young last accomplished the feat on Nov. 28, 1993, in a 35-10 win over the Rams. He threw for 462 yards with four TDs and one interception in the blowout win.
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The lefty led the NFL with 29 passing touchdowns that season, but also tossed 16 interceptions.
Garoppolo now has 18 passing TDs this season with 10 interceptions. He's on pace for 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions ... or Young's exact stat line from 26 years ago.
The 49ers are almost through the gauntlet.
A three-week stretch against Super Bowl contenders concludes Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints, the NFC's No. 1 seed. The 49ers passed their first test against the Green Bay Packers, but San Francisco lost for just the second time this season last week against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
A loss to the Saints would all but eliminate the 49ers in pursuit of home-field advantage through the entirety of the NFC playoffs, and they'd be rooting even harder for the Seattle Seahawks to lose to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. A win, however, would set the 49ers up for a potential winner-take-all clash for NFC supremacy in Week 17 against the Seahawks.
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Here's how to watch the 49ers-Saints game online and on TV.
Start time: Sunday, Dec. 8, at 10:00 a.m. PT
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial
George Kittle is keeping elite company this season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The 49ers tight end has earned a 93.8 grade from the analytics site so far this season. If that grade holds, Kittle will have had the best season at the position since they started grading players in 2006.
Though Kittle is far off his record-setting receiving pace from a year ago, he has graded out better than he did in 2018. Kittle finished his second NFL season with an 89.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, and he ranked 13th in the site's top 101 players.
PFF's methodology is just a bit more detailed than Doug Gottlieb's. Each player graded on a game-by-game basis by three separate analysts whose evaluations are "verified" by a network of former coaches, according to the site. Kittle has been a darling by PFF's metrics all season, grading out as the NFL's best player through the first four weeks of the season.
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Kittle will have his hands full Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He's set to match up against Cam Jordan while run-blocking and New Orleans has allowed the 13th-fewest receiving yards against tight ends this season. Saints coach Sean Payton praised Kittle's versatility earlier this week, indicating that New Orleans is focused on slowing the tight end down in order to limit the 49ers' offense.
As Kittle's grade shows, that'll be a tall order for the NFC's No. 1 seed.