Richard Sherman was clearly miffed as he sat on the bench after Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver Andy Isabella scored on an 88-yard catch and run that cut the San Francisco 49ers' lead to 28-25 with three minutes remaining. Fortunately for Sherman, his offense, led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, picked up three critical first downs on the 49ers' ensuing possession that allowed them to run out the clock while improving to 8-0 at the season's midway point.
While Sherman praised Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates following Thursday night's win, he was not happy with his own and his defense's performance against a Cardinals team that is 21st in the NFL in total yards per game and 17th in scoring.
"You're thankful for the offense. You're thankful for how they played," said Sherman, via 95.7 The Game. "We let us down, myself included. You gotta get him tackled at that point. The guy breaks, we gotta get him down; I gotta make that tackle, get him down and give us a chance to continue to defend. So, it's humbling. It's humbling for the defense. We need to be humbled. That was a humbling game. We need to be humbled on all levels, and I think there's accountability on all levels. We'll watch the tape, and we'll watch it critically. And everybody will watch it and judge themselves critically, because we can't play like that. That's not championship football."
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After just becoming the first team since 1977 to allow 100 or fewer net passing yards in four consecutive games, San Francisco was bested on several occasions Thursday night by Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who went 17-of-24 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Kenyan Drake, who was acquired by Arizona via a trade with the Miami Dolphins earlier in the week, rushed for 110 yards and a score on 15 carries while also catching four passes for 52 yards.
Fortunately for Sherman, his offense was a little bit better than Arizona's. Garoppolo, who entered Thursday's game with just a 9/7 touchdown/interception ratio, had easily his best game of the season, going 28-of-37 for 317 yards with four touchdowns and zero picks. While tight end George Kittle (six catches for 79 yards and a score) continues to be his favorite target, Garoppolo has gained a quick rapport with Emmanuel Sanders, who caught seven of nine targets for 112 yards and a score in just his second game with the 49ers. Garoppolo's play helped San Francisco make up for a less than stellar day on the ground, as the 49ers averaged just 3.26 yards per carry against a Cardinals defense that forced the 49ers to beat them through the air.
While Sherman has good reason to be motivated following his unit's substandard performance, even he would probably admit that it's not a bad thing to see that his offense, specifically Garoppolo, lead San Francisco to victory. As Sherman -- a Super Bowl champion during his time with the Seattle Seahawks -- knows, it's going to take a total team effort if the 49ers are going to have a shot at winning their first Super Bowl in a quarter century.