The San Francisco 49ers got a career-type of game from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who tossed four touchdowns for the second time both this season and in his career, during their Week 11 36-26 home win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. And the Niners also got a career-best game from rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who had 134 receiving yards on eight catches.

Both these players' performances were instrumental in San Francisco picking up its ninth victory.

Yet fill-in tight end Ross Dwelley was arguably the most important, as his two touchdown grabs proved to be essential difference makers. Especially Dwelley's second, which opened up the Niners' scoring in the second half and gave head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad a 17-16 lead:


"He's kinda like a Swiss Army knife in our offense right now," Garoppolo told reporters after the game. "He does a little bit of everything. He lines up split out like a receiver sometimes. You've got to tip your hat to him."

Dwelley continues to be an X-factor for Shanahan's offense. Earlier this season, when the 49ers were without fullback Kyle Juszczyk after he suffered an MCL injury, Dwelley served as a fill-in lead blocker. Then, after the Niners lost tight end George Kittle to knee and ankle injuries the past two weeks, Dwelley bumped up a spot on the depth chart there.

And he never recorded a touchdown at the NFL level before Week 11, let alone two.

"Ross has been great," Shanahan said after the game. "He's been great all year. He was unbelievable stepping up, taking over for Juszczyk when Juszczyk was out, and he's been great stepping up for Kittle when he's been out.

"Ross has been one of the better football players on our team this year and doesn't get a lot of accolades, because he's not going to sit there and get a bunch of explosive plays. But he's as good of a football player as we've got going right now."

Dwelley finished the day with four catches for 14 yards and those two touchdowns. He could have had a third end-zone score, but it was wiped out by an offensive penalty.

"I just try to be myself everyday," Dwelley said after his two-touchdown performance.

The 49ers sound like they're happy that Dwelley tries to simply be himself, too. Doing so helps San Francisco win games.
  • Peter Panacy
  • Written by:
    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.