For most of the 2019 season, the San Francisco 49ers running game and defense have been the reasons why head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad has found itself undefeated this deep into the year.

In Week 9 on Thursday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals, however, it was the arm of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo was more than just on point during prime time. He had a career day, as his four touchdown passes set a new high for the Niners' franchise signal-caller amid his team's 28-25 win on Halloween. His first end-zone score came on a 30-yard catch-and-run touchdown to tight end George Kittle, who used a stiff arm to get by Cardinals safety Budda Baker:

Garoppolo then threaded a pass to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne for San Francisco's second score of the game, then hit recently acquired wideout Emmanuel Sanders for a 1-yard touchdown with time expiring in the first half. Later on in the third quarter, Garoppolo hit Sanders again for a well-timed 22-yard reception, which helped set up another touchdown pass to wide receiver Dante Pettis, which put the 49ers up 28-14.

And they'd need all those points, as the Cardinals threatened late, yet ultimately fell short, thanks to some key third-down conversions by San Francisco to run down the clock to its expiration.

"He played great today," Shanahan said of Garoppolo after the game. "He made a lot of plays in rhythm, and made a lot of off-schedule plays. [The Cardinals] have a great pass rush and had a lot of tight coverages. They mix up a lot of stuff. But I thought Jimmy played a hell of a game, and it was his best game yet."

Garoppolo previously tossed three touchdowns in a single game twice, the last time against the Cincinnati Bengals back in Week 2. Prior to that, Garoppolo threw three touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins back in 2016 when he was still with the New England Patriots.

"On a short week, you really don't know what the game is going to be," Garoppolo said. "In-game adjustments, you get a feel for the game. Guys stepping up in critical moments was a big emphasis in this game."

Garoppolo stepped up, too, especially on third downs. Overall, the 49ers converted 11 of 17 third-down attempts, which was critical in San Francisco's eighth win of the year.

And it helps it was in career record-breaking fashion as well.

"It was the same as every other game," Garoppolo added. "It wasn't anything different for me out there. Just more opportunities and different opportunities. I thought the guys were making plays with the ball in their hands."

At least Garoppolo made a play at Fox Sports' Erin Andrews after the win.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.