The San Francisco 49ers are now the top team in the NFC West.
In a game reminiscent of the organization’s glory years, San Francisco (6-4) routed the Arizona Cardinals (4-7) 38-10 on Monday night in Mexico City.
Like the teams of the 1980’s and early 90’s, San Francisco’s offense methodically moved the ball down the field and punctuated drives with explosive scoring plays.
The offensive performance is likely to overshadow another dominant effort by the Niners defense. DeMeco Ryans was masterful in the second half as his group shutout its opponent in the second half for the third week in a row.
In addition to taking over the division lead, the 49ers moved into the third seed in the NFC playoff picture and became the winningest team in the history of Monday Night Football.
Here are the answers to the five burning questions I posed before the game.
1.) Where is the left foot of Trent Williams? In all the right places.
Trent Williams and the 49ers offensive line were on point Monday night.
San Francisco came into the game averaging 4.4 yards per rushing attempt. When the starters left the game just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter San Francisco was averaging 6.8 yards per attempt on the ground.
The pass protection was just as good.
Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass 29 times. The 49ers offensive line allowed no sacks, and their quarterback was hit only four times.
2. Can Jimmy Garoppolo go three games without throwing an interception? YES
Jimmy Garoppolo did not throw an interception against Arizona, marking the first time in his career that he has gone three games without one.
Garoppolo has played at a high level in recent weeks. On Monday night he completed 22 of 28 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns.
For the second week in a row Garoppolo made a big time throw after having to avoid pressure when he found George Kittle down the middle for a 39-yard touchdown.
If Garoppolo continues not to turn the ball over and show a willingness to throw the ball away to avoid a big mistake, the 49ers are going to be playing deep into the playoffs.
3. Will the 49ers face Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy? Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy started in place of Kyler Murray.
The veteran quarterback had not won back-to-back starts in the same season since 2011. It will be at least two more weeks before he gets another opportunity to break that streak.
After completing 17 of 23 attempts for 172 yards during the first half, McCoy was unable to keep it going after the break.
San Francisco’s defense clamped down in the second half, allowing McCoy to throw for only 46 yards before being replaced by Trace McSorley.
4. Can the 49ers secondary contain DeAndre Hopkins? YES
DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best wide receivers in the game. The only problem is that the rest of the Cardinals offense without Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz is just a bunch of guys.
Hopkins started the game out hot with a pair of 17-yard receptions as the Cardinals drove down to get the first points of the game on a field goal.
In the first half, Hopkins was targeted eight times and finished with seven receptions for 77 yards.
As they did when facing Cooper Kupp and the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers defense adjusted at halftime and the second half was a different story.
In the second half San Francisco’s pass rush gained steam and the coverage tightened. As a result, Hopkins was able to grab only two of four second half targets for a measly 14 yards.
5. Which team holds on to the ball? 49ers
For only the third time under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers did not have a turnover against Arizona.
Instead, it was the Cardinals who made the mistakes.
Just over five minutes into the second quarter, Jimmie Ward found himself in the right place at the right time. When a Colt McCoy checkdown to James Connor bounced off the running backs hands, Ward was in position to secure his first interception of the game.
Three plays later Jimmy Garoppolo connected with George Kittle for a touchdown to give San Francisco an 11 point lead.
Rookie Samuel Womack also recorded an interception when he got his hands on a Trace McSorley pass to end the game.
49ers 27 Cardinals 19
San Francisco opponents have scored 20 points or more only once when Nick Bosa has been in the lineup this season. That trend continued on Monday night.