The Arizona Cardinals had no chance, and it had nothing to do with Kyler Murray not playing.
Defenses will have a problem with the 49ers this season. The Cardinals were helpless to stop everyone the 49ers could throw at them. Christian McCaffrey didn't even score and the 49ers put up five touchdowns. Brandon Aiyuk scored two. George Kittle also scored two. Deebo Samuel scored after taking a handoff and cruising down the sideline, which has become a trademark of his.
Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't have to do much but get the ball out and watch his all-star teammates run to the end zone. The 49ers were very impressive in a 38-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night in Mexico City.
The Cardinals aren't a good team. They have a bad defense and Colt McCoy didn't get much going as he replaced an injured Murray. But if this is the 49ers team we can expect the rest of the way, we might see San Francisco play deep into January.
Maybe into February as well.
49ers have a dominant win
The 49ers have had an impressive collection of talent on both sides of the ball since trading for McCaffrey on Oct. 20. In the weeks since that trade, many have cited the 49ers as a team that can win the NFC.
They really hadn't played to that level often after the trade. They had looked good at times but coming into Monday's game they were a 5-4 team that hadn't reached its top gear yet.
Monday was the Niners' top gear.
The Cardinals didn't generate much on offense against a 49ers defense that at times this season has looked like the best in the NFL. Arizona had no run game and aside from one 47-yard catch by Greg Dortch, they didn't have an offensive play of more than 18 yards. The pass rush got to McCoy often. It's a hard-hitting defense that is fast and can take away whatever you do best.
The defense alone would make the 49ers a dangerous team. Pairing that defense with an offense that includes perhaps the best set of skill-position players in the NFL (and also left tackle Trent Williams, arguably the league's best lineman) is why many were so excited for what the 49ers might do in the second half of the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo has a good game
Since Garoppolo took over as 49ers quarterback, the key to their success has been yards after catch. Head coach Kyle Shanahan can scheme up an offense and Garoppolo can execute it.
To play that way you need elite playmakers. The 49ers have that. Kittle is one of the NFL's best tight ends. Samuel is an excellent receiver and Aiyuk, a former first-round draft pick, is very good as a No. 2. The 49ers' trade for McCaffrey was questioned because they gave up a lot and the 49ers were just 3-3 coming off a 14-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons when the trade was made. Many wondered how the 49ers could think a running back could push them to Super Bowl contender status.
McCaffrey, however, is a special talent. Even though he didn't score Monday he had 106 total yards. Defenses need to pay special attention to him every play. And they need to do the same with Samuel. And Kittle. And Aiyuk is capable of making a big play too. At some point the math for the defense doesn't work. You can't shade coverage to all four of those stars.
Monday night's performance was the vision the 49ers had when they traded for McCaffrey. If the 49ers can play like that the rest of the season — they still need to show it against elite competition, and Garoppolo will always be a question — they can win a Super Bowl. Then it won't matter how many picks they gave up to get McCaffrey.