The 49ers took care of business against familiar faces and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The victory is bittersweet with the news of Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury. Brock Purdy stepped in admirably to help lead the 49ers. As usual, the defense was impressive. Twitter was ablaze with reactions to the game.
The Dolphins started fast. The first play from scrimmage was a long catch-and-run touchdown from Trent Sherfield. In this instance, the defense got beat by poor tackling angles. Not the start 49ers fans had in mind.
Garoppolo and the 49ers responded with a field goal drive that came with a heavy cost. On the final play of the drive, Garoppolo got rolled up on. After limping off the field, the medical cart came out. Kyle Shanahan would later reveal Garoppolo broke his foot. It’s a devastating end to Garoppolo’s season, which was filled with obstacles.
His teammates felt the same way.
"It kind of breaks my heart."— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) December 5, 2022
The 49ers locker room reacts to Jimmy Garoppolo's season-ending injury: pic.twitter.com/6htyt6KdvR
Unfortunately, this league doesn’t care or wait for injuries. Enter Brock Purdy. After a three-and-out from Miami, Purdy led the team down the field. Kyle Juszczyk was the recipient of Purdy’s first NFL touchdown.
Brock Purdy’s first career TD pass ✔️pic.twitter.com/gXvhinM5Bs— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) December 4, 2022
Purdy was understandably excited. Credit to him for staying ready and not flinching during this game. The two teams would trade punts before the Dolphins put a field goal on the board with 10:20 left in the second quarter.
Both defenses didn’t allow scores following the field goal until the final drive of the first half. Purdy engineered a touchdown drive to close the half that started from their 24-yard line. The touchdown throw was the third most impressive throw.
Here’s the most impressive throw:
The Dolphins are an aggressive defense. This throw to Kittle on third down in the face of a blitz is extremely impressive. Knowing he would take the hit, Purdy delivered the ball to Kittle to keep the drive alive.
The second most impressive throw was the play before the touchdown. Purdy read the defense perfectly and placed a throw where only McCaffrey could bring it in. It landed incomplete, but it was executed properly by Purdy.
Here’s the touchdown throw:
Brock Purdy’s 2ND NFL TD pass pic.twitter.com/gDcPeTFpcF— Brian Renick ️ (@brenick77) December 4, 2022
Brock Purdy to Christian McCaffrey for the 3 yard TD to give the 49ers a 17-10 lead before halftime! pic.twitter.com/flI8yA68Xx— @ (@FTBeard7) December 4, 2022
The 49ers would go into halftime with the lead. Having not allowed a single point on defense in any second half through November was at stake. After a punt from the 49ers to open the third quarter, the defense made its presence felt.
Arik Armstead was a menace on this drive. His presence in the middle was sorely missed. Occupying multiple linemen is such a weapon for this defense. Jimmie Ward did the rest to end this Dolphins’ drive.
The 49ers turned the interception into a field goal, but the defense wasn’t done yet.
Tua Tagovailoa had a rough day at the office. Routinely overthrowing receivers after the first play touchdown. The 49ers’ streak of not allowing a second-half point continued with the close of the third quarter.
Then the fourth quarter began.
This is how quickly Miami can strike. Tyreek Hill is such a game-changer. The game got instantly tight. The 49ers punted on the ensuing possession.
Mike McDaniel got his offense rolling again by sending Hill in pre-snap motions. Kyle Shanahan challenged a third-down catch by Trent Sherfield, and the catch was overturned. McDaniel went for it on his 19-yard line. The Dolphins converted.
The 49ers didn’t allow a single third-down conversion in this game. Mike Gesicki’s fourth-down catch was overturned on Shanahan’s second challenge.
The 49ers would get a big carry from McCaffrey, setting up a field goal. Two consecutive negative plays and a holding penalty pushed Robbie Gould out of a chip shot. He wouldn’t blink.
Dre Greenlaw put the exclamation point on the victory.
Holding down an explosive offense was something many fans wanted to see. They did just that. The victory comes with the loss of their starting QB for the season. Purdy filled in admirably. It’s his show going forward.