MEXICO CITY (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers took the extra step of training at altitude in Colorado for a few days before traveling to Mexico City, hoping the move would allow them to thrive at Estadio Azteca, which It is located at an altitude of 7,200 feet. the sea level.
The Arizona Cardinals didn’t think it was necessary.
In the marketplace of football ideas, it’s safe to say that the 49ers won that disagreement by a landslide.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw for four touchdowns, including two to Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, and the 49ers strengthened as the game progressed, beating the Cardinals 38-10 on Monday night.
Niners defensive end Joey Bosa said there was no question the team’s workout in Colorado was time well spent.
“(Owner) John York got the game ball,” Niners defensive end Joey Bosa said. “For him to put us in that situation and spend the money that he has to spend to do something like that, that’s why the Niners are a winning franchise.”
Bosa said the Colorado experience didn’t fully resolve the altitude issues, but it did allow the team to understand what to expect. Azteca Stadium is approximately 2,000 feet taller than any other stadium in the NFL.
“It was brutal,” Bosa added. “Three reps at full speed and you’re in pain. It gets better throughout the game and I think we did a good job of sticking with it.”
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury did not believe the altitude affected his team.
“I didn’t,” Kingsbury said. “Everyone was tired. I think you could see that both teams were getting winded at times, but it wasn’t anything that I felt would change the game.”
There was no indication that the Cardinals decided to stay in Tempe, Ariz., this week for practices because of money. Instead, Kingsbury thought that the team’s strength and conditioning staff had developed a good plan for their players, and that a few more days at home would pay off.
The game was close in the first half with the 49ers taking a 17-10 lead at halftime after Robbie Gould’s 39-yard field goal. But the game changed in the first series of the second half.
The Niners put together an eight-play drive that included seven runs, capped by a 39-yard finish by Deebo Samuel that resulted in a touchdown. The speedy Samuel weaved in and out of the Cardinals defense, evading tacklers with ease.
Arizona’s offense was unable to respond, being shutout in the second half.
“I didn’t think the Niners would mess me up once tonight,” McCoy said. “I knew what they were doing. They showed me a lot of different looks. And that’s a bummer. I feel great about it, but we just didn’t make enough plays.”
McCoy was forced into action for the second week in a row because starting quarterback Kyler Murray still has soreness in his hamstring. The 36-year-old finished 24 of 34 passing for 218 yards and one interception.
But he was far from the only problem. The Cardinals’ defense has been solid for the most part this season, but it couldn’t stop the Niners, particularly in the second half. Kittle’s second touchdown came after a short catch, then the big tight end ran down the field for a 32-yard score, outpacing an outnumbered Arizona defense.
Whether it was tired players or just a bad game, the Cards obviously didn’t have a great night in Mexico City. They now sit with a 4-7 record at the bottom of the NFC West. Getting to the playoffs is a great possibility.
“We have to flush,” Kingsbury said. “We have a short week with the Chargers coming. So that’s what we talked about. We know we have to play a lot better. We have to get better in a short time. Lots of mental preparation before the game on Sunday.” a goodbye. So we have to find a way to correct it.”
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