The San Francisco 49ers returned to the win column on Sunday. After suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, Kyle Shanahan and Company bounced back on a short week, overcoming a 16-point deficit to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 36-26 at Levi’s Stadium. It was the 49ers’ second win over the Cardinals this season after losing eight straight since 2015.
Let’s take a look at the weekly stock report for the 49ers after their ninth win of the season:
Stock up: Jimmy’s story
Every week is a new, riveting chapter in the story that is Jimmy Garoppolo. After a dark chapter against the Seahawks, Garoppolo’s story took a turn for the better against the Cardinals on Sunday. It wasn’t always pretty, but Garoppolo threw for 424 yards and four touchdowns, a franchise first since Joe Montana and Steve Young. His two second-half interceptions were uninspiring, throwing directly to Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks on one and missing Ross Dwelley wide on the other - both in the red zone. It’s become clear that Garoppolo’s weekly episodes will always feature ups and downs, but Week 11 was a positive step in the right direction for his story.
Stock down: Pounding the rock
For the first time this season, the 49ers abandoned the run. Shanahan said after the game that he realized during halftime that running the ball simply wasn’t working against the Cardinals, electing to lean on Garoppolo for the final two quarters. The offense’s 19 carries and 1.6-yard average are both low marks on the season. A stark contrast for what was once the NFL’s best rushing attack. With Matt Breida out with an ankle injury, Tevin Coleman only managed 14 yards on 12 carries, while Raheem Mostert totaled 13 on six attempts. Shanahan must adjust to maintain balance on offense.
Stock up: Playoff positioning
The 49ers’ contest against the Cardinals held big implications within both the conference and division playoff picture. A loss against Arizona would’ve dropped the 49ers from first to fifth place in the NFC and from first to second place in the NFC West. San Francisco is entering into a critical stretch of their season occupied mostly by teams expected to make the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints await the 49ers over the next three weeks, both of which are directly behind the 49ers in the NFC playoff race.
Stock down: Pettis slipping
Veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders has been on and off the field over the past two weeks as he battles a rib injury. It would’ve been an ideal opportunity for the embattled second-year receiver, Dante Pettis, to gain some ground after struggling to establish himself so far this season. Instead, Pettis slipped and seemed to have fallen entirely out of favor under Shanahan. Pettis’ snaps against the Cardinals were limited, not seeing the field until the final few plays of the game. He played no part in the outcome and has been completely eclipsed by rookie Deebo Samuel. Last week against the Seahawks, Pettis was targeted three times for zero receptions and one drop.
Stock up: Backups come through
The bulk of the 49ers’ production on Sunday came from backups. With tight end George Kittle out with knee and ankle issues, backup Ross Dwelley answered the bell for the 49ers. He reeled in four receptions for 14 yards and two touchdowns, including a crucial catch to move the chains in the 49ers’ game-winning drive. Dwelley should’ve had a third touchdown, but it was wiped out by a holding call on Weston Richburg. Receiver Kendrick Bourne and running back Jeff Wilson, both third or fourth on their respective depth charts, also reeled in touchdowns for the 49ers offense. Wilson’s go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter was on his only snap of the game.
Stock down: Dealing with mobility
The 49ers defense struggled against Kyler Murray on Sunday after struggling against Russell Wilson the week prior. Wilson completed 70% of his passes for 232 yards and a touchdown while rushing six times for 53 yards. Murray completed 72% for 150 yards and two touchdowns while rushing eight times for 67 yards and another score. This reinvigorated 49ers defense is going to be dealing with these two quarterbacks for years to come. They need to find a way to contain both Wilson and Murray better if they want to maintain their newfound dominance within the division.