Jimmy Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes, including two each to Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and the San Francisco 49ers won their third straight game by blowing past the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 on Monday night in Mexico City.
It was the fifth regular-season NFL game played in Mexico City and the first since 2019. Technically a Cardinals home game, the raucous announced crowd of 78,427 fans at Estadio Azteca heavily favored the 49ers, roaring particularly loud when Kittle and Deebo Samuel scored.
San Francisco (6-4) have won five of their last seven and are tied with the Seahawks at the top of the NFC West. Garoppolo had another efficient performance, completing 20 of 29 passes for 228 yards.
It was a tight game through much of the first half, but the 49ers pulled away in the second, jumping ahead 24-10 early in the third quarter on a nifty end-around play. Samuel took the pitch and sprinted 39 yards, weaving through the Cardinals defense on his way to the end zone.
It capped a powerful eight-play San Francisco drive that included seven running plays. Aiyuk’s second touchdown catch of the night put the 49ers up 31-10 later in the third.
The Cardinals (4-7) played their second straight game without Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray, who has been battling a sore hamstring. Backup Colt McCoy had a 3-1 record in spot starts over the past two seasons – including a win over the Rams last week – but couldn’t recreate the same magic in Mexico. McCoy finished 24 of 34 passing for 218 yards and an interception. The 49ers hit him hard multiple times, connecting for three sacks
The cavernous Estadio Azteca – which is home to two of Mexico’s top soccer teams – sits at an altitude of about 7,200 feet, much higher than San Francisco and Phoenix. The 49ers opted to train at altitude this week in Colorado, while the Cardinals decided to stay at their home practice facility in Tempe, Arizona.
Arizona’s defense looked gassed in the second half, missing several tackles as the game slowly got out of hand.