Fish out of water: 49ers smother Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins in 33-17 win
In a game full of emotions and reunions, it was the no-nonsense players that stepped up for the 49ers Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to another stellar defensive performance, the San Francisco 49ers defeated Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins, 33-17. The Red & Gold improve to 8-4 on the regular season, a one-game lead atop the NFC West.
This game seemed doomed from the very beginning, with San Francisco giving up a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the opening drive. Running a middle-in route, former 49er Trent Sherfield took a short pass to the house, cutting past defenders to get along the far sideline for the score. 7-0 Dolphins in 10 seconds.
Taking a sack on third down, Jimmy G’s left foot was rolled up on by Dolphins’ linebackers Jaelan Phillips and Jerome Baker. The hit left Garoppolo in a lot of pain, walking gingerly to the sideline after the play. The gunslinger went immediately into the medical tent before getting carted to the locker room.
He was ruled out shortly after.
The news postgame confirmed the worst: Garoppolo broke his left foot and will require season-ending surgery to fix it. His 2022 49ers season is over.
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) December 5, 2022
“It was crushing. I got the news in the second quarter,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Garoppolo’s season-ending foot fracture postgame. “It was a hell of a job by [QB] Brock [Purdy] coming in and stepping up. We’ll be ready to do our best to overcome this.”
Other members of the team received the news at halftime, including defensive end Nick Bosa, very emotional about the situation after the game.
“It just stinks because I really felt him coming on even more so this year. He’s always been a great leader but I felt him really, really caring about this team and his part and obviously his big role as QB. I saw him at halftime and it was pretty emotional,” Bosa said about Garoppolo Sunday.
Despite the injury, a game still had to be played. The 49ers came together and rallied behind their fallen leader, both offensively and defensively.
On offense, seventh-rounder Brock Purdy was tasked with commanding the team, producing a few dazzling drives that helped San Francisco establish possession over the Dolphins. He threw two TD passes in the first half, one to fullback Kyle Juszyck, and the other to running back Christian McCaffrey.
Purdy finished his first meaningful game-time in the NFL with 25/37 completions, two TDs, one interception and a 88.5 passer rating. The last pick of the 2022 NFL draft, Mr. Irrevalant certainly made his presence known to the masses Sunday, with his team right behind him moving forward.
Nick Bosa on Brock Purdy: "I saw him in preseason, and it looked like he had some dog in him."
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) December 5, 2022
“He’s played against the best defense in the league for the past 13 weeks. He’ll be fine,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “I’ve got all the confidence in world in Purdy. At the same time, he doesn’t have to do too much. He has so many weapons and he just has to protect the football.”
Warner is right about one thing for sure, and that’s the San Francisco defense being the best in the NFL.
Week 13 was won by the 49ers’ dominant defense, suffocating QB Tua Tagovailoa and the offense to only 17 points, their lowest total since October. Tagovailoa was the culprit for most of Miami’s woes Sunday, tossing two picks and fumbling the ball to seal the loss for his team. The Hawaiian hadn’t thrown an interception since Week 4, proving how good the 49ers’ unit really is.
The Dolphins’ signal-caller finished the day with a 79.7 passer rating, going 18 for 33 on passing attempts.
On the other side, Nick Bosa was the catalyst for rattling Tua, providing three sacks for the 49ers in Week 13. The most important one came in the fourth quarter, hitting Miami’s QB so hard he coughed up the football, leading to the game sealing scoop-and-score by LB Dre Greenlaw.
This defense hits different, literally.
Nick Bosa with his 3rd sack of the day, Dre Greenlaw takes it back to the house.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 5, 2022
Bosa’s performance in Week 13 now puts him as the leader in sacks at 14.5 in11 games this season.
“Everybody here knows that he’s just elite and he’s the best and he put the stamp on it today,” Warner said about his defensive counterpart. “That’s what you need from your best players, to make the plays when they’re needed the most. To do that against a playoff-caliber team, big-time.”
San Francisco will finish out their three-week homestand against Bay Area native Tom Brady and the Tampa Buccaneers, a matchup young Brock Purdy is looking forward to.
“Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool,” Purdy stated. “Dude’s been playing football longer than I’ve been alive so it’s pretty cool.”