The Seahawks went into Levi’s Stadium last week and handed the 49ers their first loss of the season. Back-to-back home losses in their division were not on San Francisco’s agenda, but Kyler Murray and the Cardinals came out blasting. Touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald, and Pharoh Cooper helped them to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t get much going and wasn’t helped by Emmanuel Sanders, who was hurting. Sanders often needed to leave the game with his rib injury but would return to tough it out. With Sanders unable to help, Garoppolo turned to Deebo Samuel, who just last week with Sanders hurt, played a great game, catching 8-of-11 targets for 112 yards in the Seattle loss.
Samuel was in even better form against the Cardinals, as he caught 8-of-10 targets for 134 yards. He didn’t get into the end zone, but with the run game going nowhere with 18 attempts for 27 yards, Samuel was the engine behind the offense. His receptions helped get the 49ers in scoring range for two short touchdown passes to George Kittle’s backup Ross Dwelley and another short touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne. He also made this circus catch for a little pizzazz.
Jimmy Garoppolo started slow and made a few awful throws, but he turned it on, completing 34-of-45 passes for 424 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He let his receivers and backs do a lot of the work after the catch with short passes and made timely strikes downfield to Samuel.
Kyler Murray leveled off after his fast start but came up big late in the game with a 22-yard touchdown run to take the lead with six minutes remaining. Still, another long drive led by Garoppolo and Samuel ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson to put them on top with seconds remaining.
The 49ers take on a rested Packers team on Sunday Night next week, so they could use Sanders. We’ll keep an eye on the news reports to see if he can get any practices this week. Sander’s injury probably needs time to heal truly, and Samuel has proven his worth, making him a good add in fantasy no matter Sanders’ injury status.