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49ERS 33, DOLPHINS 17

Jimmy Garoppolo done for season after breaking foot, but 49ers defense stays dominant against Miami

Jaelan Phillips (15) and Jerome Baker (55) sacked Garoppolo for a 10-yard loss less than five minutes into Sunday's game, the quarterback's apparent final play of the season.Ezra Shaw/Getty

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending left foot injury on a sack Sunday, dealing a big blow to one of the NFL’s top teams.

Garoppolo got hurt on the opening drive of a 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins and will need to undergo surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

“It’s pretty crushing. We know what Jimmy’s been through, how hard he’s worked at this,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That was a really cool game, just as a team and all the stuff that went on throughout the game and just be able to overcome some things. So it’s such a special win. But definitely mixed emotions hearing about Jimmy.”

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Rookie Brock Purdy threw two touchdown passes after Garoppolo’s departure, and San Francisco (8-4) used another dominant defensive performance for its fifth straight win. Tua Tagovailoa threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield on the opening play from scrimmage for Miami (8-4), but struggled to do much else behind a patchwork line.

Tagovailoa, who came into the game with three interceptions on the season, threw two in the third quarter to Jimmie Ward and Deommodore Lenoir to lead to a pair of field goals for the 49ers.

“It sucks that we didn’t come out and say what we wanted to do collectively as a team,” Tagovailoa said. “Obviously, it starts with me offensively. Turnovers, with third-down communication errors, in that retrospect it’s hard to win a game when you’re not on your Ps and Qs and you’re not dialed in.”

Tagovailoa tossed a pair of third-quarter picks in the loss.Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

The 49ers had their four-game, second-half shutout streak snapped when Tagovailoa threw a 45-yard TD pass to Tyreek Hill in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but held on from there. They capped the performance with a strip-sack from Nick Bosa that Dre Greenlaw returned for a 23-yard score.

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Bosa finished with three sacks, taking advantage of a line missing starting tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson.

“We didn’t flinch,” Niners linebacker Fred Warner said about the response to the opening play. “We came back to the sideline and you can’t look at things like that emotionally. You’ve got to just look at it for what it is and and see how you can adjust. I guess that kind of allowed us to really settle into the game quicker, obviously when you have a play like that.”

Purdy, dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick of this year’s NFL draft, had thrown his only nine passes in mop-up duty of a Week 7 loss to Kansas City before Sunday. One of the top contenders in the NFC now must go the rest of the way with him after losing starter Trey Lance to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. (ESPN reported the Niners are signing Josh Johnson off the Denver practice squad.)

This is the third time Garoppolo has had a season derailed by injury since joining the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. He went down with a knee injury in the third game of the 2018 season and missed eight games with ankle injuries in 2020.

In Garoppolo’s two healthy seasons, the Niners went to the Super Bowl (2019) and the NFC title game (2021). But his history led them to trade three first-round picks to draft Lance third overall in 2021. Garoppolo kept his job last year but was supposed to move on this season before offseason shoulder surgery killed his trade market.

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He ended up returning to San Francisco on a reduced contract to be the backup to Lance but regained his role as starter when Lance got hurt. Garoppolo was playing the best football of his career.

“It’s brutal,” running back Christian McCaffrey said. “I haven’t been around a long time here, but I can’t say enough good things about him. I’ve been in that position before, where you’re playing and you’re excited and it all ends for the year. It hurts.”

Purdy capped his first drive of the game by throwing a 3-yard TD pass to Harvard product Kyle Juszczyk to give San Francisco a 10-7 lead. He then led a well-executed two-minute drive at the end of the half, completing six passes for 75 yards with a 3-yard TD to McCaffrey with 4 seconds left to make it 17-10.

Purdy finished 25 for 37 for 210 yards, two TDs, and one interception.

The Dolphins wasted little time showing off their speed when Tagovailoa connected on the long touchdown to Sherfield on the first play from scrimmage.

It marked the first time a team scored on the first play after the opening kick since the Niners did it in Week 2 of the 2020 season against the Jets with an 80-yard run by Raheem Mostert.

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The touchdown ended a scoreless streak of more than 94 minutes for the 49ers, who hadn’t allowed a point since the second quarter against Arizona two weeks ago.