The San Francisco 49ers got a 15-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. In Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start as a Niners, he got points right away. Despite redzone issues the entire day the Niners moved the ball well, converting five field goals. Robbie Gould was money on the day, going five for five against the team that cut him this offseason.
The Niners defense was excellent, only allowing a touchdown after a Garoppolo interception with a short field. Garoppolo’s interception was arguably not his fault, the pass was pulled from the arms of his receiver. The only other time that the 49ers allowed points was a video game-like punt return touchdown by Tarik Cohen, reversing field and finding a line.
The defense had a great day up front, shutting down Jordan Howard. Howard carried the ball 13 times and totaled just 38 yards. Rookie Reuben Foster lead the way in this department with a team-high seven tackles. Fellow rookie Solomon Thomas also had a great day, sacking Mitch Trubisky and making plays in the run game.
One play where the Niners found their way to the endzone late in the game was an excellent pass. Garoppolo dropped the ball over the fingertips of the Bears defense in the back corner of the endzone. Unfortunately, the ball was reeled in out of bounds, thus robbing Jimmy G of a potentially elite touchdown.
Regardless, at the end of the day, the Niners won on a field goal by Gould as time expired. Notching their second win of the season, it was an excellent game for the Niners young core and flashed the potential this team has going forward.
Most Valuable Player – Jimmy Garoppolo
Garoppolo was easily the MVP of the 49ers win on Sunday. The new starting quarterback is the MVP, not only for his performance but for the hope he provided to the organization. 49ers fans now have something to look forward to thanks to the excellent play of Garoppolo on Sunday, completing 26 passes for almost 300 yards. Without a doubt, Jimmy G made his case for being the Niners franchise quarterback heading into the future.
Least Valuable Player – Louis Murphy
Murphy had a bad performance on Sunday. Hauling in just one pass on the day, the young wideout also handed the Niners an interception. Going up for a pass over the middle, Murphy had the ball in his hands but wasn’t strong with the ball, having it ripped out by Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller. Almost providing a turning point in the game for the Bears, Murphy hurt his quarterback early in his first start.
Kyle Shanahan’s offense uses the play-action pass game heavily. Luckily for Shanahan, Garoppolo is seemingly excellent in the play-action passing game. Without a doubt, Garoppolo’s 8/8 passing off of play-action was crucial to his success on Sunday. As a quarterback who is relatively inexperienced, it is important that Garoppolo is able to get the defense moving the wrong direction and get some easy throws as a result. In an offense centered around the play-action passing game, Garoppolo gathered more than one-third of his passing yards off the run fake.
The Niners have the Texans up next, a team that has been off their game lately. Losers of five of their last six games, this is yet another game that is up for grabs. With just one game with Garoppolo under center, it is hard to be sure what to expect. The Niners match up well with the Texans on defense but will need to be able to defend DeAndre Hopkins. If the 49ers can score points on the Texans defense and defend the deep ball, they have a chance to find another win next week.