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49ers cruise past Bengals: Garoppolo gun-slinging

QB Jimmy Garoppolo threw a career-tying 3 touchdowns, as the 49ers trampled the Bengals to remain undefeated to start the 2019 season.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 15: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

In the team’s opening drive, 49ers took the first attack, scoring with a thrilling spectacular 38-yard pass from Garoppolo to Marquise Goodwin. However, the Cincinnati Bengals responded quickly with a successful 69-yard drive, resulting in a 1-yard TD pass from QB Andy Dalton to WR Eifert. In what looked like a competitive matchup, the 49ers responded with a 8-play, 84-yard drive ending in a long completion from Jimmy Garoppolo to WR Raheem Mostert in the end-zone.

After a couple of missed opportunities from the Bengals, such as an incomplete drive resulting in a punt, as well as failing to capitalize on an interception with a missed field goal, the 49ers extended their lead to a 2-touchdown difference putting the score at 21-7 with 10-minutes left in the first-half. The Bengals tried to close the gap with a successful field goal midway through the second quarter, but unlike the Bengals, the 49ers took advantage of the extra possession by turning the interception from Dalton into a field goal to close the half.

Both team’s first three drives of the second half determined the outcome of the game. While San Francisco 49ers converted all three drives into points with 2 end zone touchdowns and 1 field goal, all three Bengals offensive possessions ended in woes, resulting in scoreless drives and punts to the other team, ultimately leading to a dreary deficit of 31 points and a disappointed crowd filing out of the stadium midway through the 3rd quarter. In a dismal last-minute attempt, the Bengals finally scored a touchdown in the game’s closing drive, making the blow-out seem less deafening into a final score of 41-17.

Is Garoppolo the real deal?

Honestly, it is hard to tell even at this point, 2 games into the season. But it is quite surprising. There were a lot of speculation and doubts floating in the air about the 49ers signing a backup quarterback with limited field experience to one of the most expensive contracts in league history, a 5-year $137.5 million. These doubts were further cemented when, in his first season announced as the starting quarterback, he suffered a potentially career-ending injury with a torn ACL injury in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Luckily, the money has not gone to waste, as Garoppolo was able to recover and play in the next season.

But, if history repeats itself, it is scary to see if Garoppolo suffers another season-ending injury in Week 3. In his 2019 campaign, Garoppolo already has a higher completion percentage, a larger quarterback rating, and is one touchdown away from his 2018 self. And that is largely in part due to the improvement in the offensive linemen system, where has only been sacked once during his two weeks of this regular season, compared to his 13 sacks from the previous season. If this explains about Garoppolo’s sudden improvement, there should be a concern as multiple pro-football offensive lineman Joe Staley is out for 8 weeks with a broken left fibula.

Sep 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs against San Francisco 49ers defensive back K'Waun Williams (24) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati in Trouble?

While it is early to tell in the regular season, results carry a lot of weight in this league. After 5 consecutive playoff appearances, all resulting in a wildcard loss, the Bengals haven’t seen playoff light since the 2015 postseason. Therefore, this gives further reasoning to show that the system in Cincinnati is not working and that major changes in the roster, such as a replacement to QB Andy Dalton may be necessary, or that Bengals fan should be a little bit more patient about the process and it may need more time to get adjusted. A new head coach could help explain the ongoing struggles with the team, but digging into a 0-2 hole this early into the season does not boast high hopes for the remainder of the season.

In the upcoming week, 49ers hopes to continue to drive their momentum in their home season opener at Levi’s Stadium against a disappointing and dismal Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Bengals look to change their team direction with a matchup against an undefeated Buffalo Bills.

No Shenanigans, Just Football

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