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Jimmy Garoppolo's drive sets up Robbie Gould FG in 49ers win over Titans

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo made the final drive of the 49ers' 25-23 win over the Tennessee Titans look easy.

The drive started with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter. The 49ers got the ball at their 25-yard line. They were losing 23-22.

First play of the drive, Garoppolo dropped back and looked left toward Carlos Hyde. Covered. Garoppolo looked over the middle. Found Trent Taylor. Pump faked, and threw him a 7-yard pass.

“The play was F-Zorro,” Taylor said in the locker room after the game. “It was called a Zorro route. Just like a little crossing route. Nice and quick. Get the drive going.”

The Niners hurried to the line of scrimmage for the next play - second-and-3 from the 49ers 32-yard line. Center Daniel Kilgore snapped the ball with 51 seconds left. Garoppolo dropped back, looked left toward his primary receiver. Covered.

Garoppolo looked over the middle. Saw tight end George Kittle.

“I was just wide open,” Kittle said. “They dropped two safeties, so I knew I was going to be wide open in the middle of the field. I looked back a little bit early, Jimmy threw it, and I knew we had to get to the 37 so I wasn't trying to make a huge play after the catch. I was trying to catch it and get down so we could keep the ball moving and keep the clock running. It was fun being wide open in the middle of the field. Some guys just forget about the tight ends, and it's really fun when they do.”

Titans safeties Kevin Byard and Jonathan Cyprien tackled Kittle at the Tennessee 45. Gain of 22. The 49ers ran to the line of scrimmage again and snapped the ball with 33 seconds left.

Garoppolo dropped back, looked left and completed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who was running a slant route.

“If you look,” Goodwin said, “my route, it may have been a good route - it may have not - but I don't have to run a perfect route. Jimmy delivered an awesome ball. Just the connection, man. He is so in tune with me. He's just very in tune with everybody. It's crazy. I don't think I've played with anybody like him.”

The 49ers ran to the line of scrimmage and Garoppolo spiked the ball to stop the clock with 16 seconds left. They were in field goal range.

Next play, Garoppolo overthrew a deep pass to Marquise Goodwin. Incomplete. Then Carlos Hyde ran up the middle for three yards. Then the 49ers called their last timeout with three seconds to go.

Kicker Robbie Gould jogged onto the field. He had already made all five of his field-goal attempts. The pressure was on to make No. 6. The 49ers trailed 23-22.

“You don't think about (the pressure),” Gould said. “I couldn't even tell you how long (the field goal) was.”

It was a 45-yard field goal. And Gould split the uprights as the clock struck zero. The 49ers won the game.

“We just went right down (the field),” Kyle Shanahan said at his post-game press conference. “(Garoppolo) looked poised as can be.”

With Sunday's win over the Titans, the 49ers now have won three in a row and four of their past five games. Their record is 4-10. They started the season 0-9.

Garoppolo has been a major factor in the 49ers' hot streak. Against the Titans, he completed 31 of 43 pass attempts for 381 yards, threw a touchdown pass to tight end Garrett Celek, threw no interceptions, and posted a passer rating of 106.8.

Shanahan said the Titans blitzed more than he's ever seen a defense blitz. That plan didn't work.

“I love it when they blitz us like that,” Garoppolo said. “It creates holes in the defense. They have guys dropping and doing responsibilities that they're not used to. It's good matchups for us.”

Early in game, it didn't seem Garoppolo would have to lead a come-from-behind, game-winning drive. The 49ers led 16-3 late in the second quarter.

But the Titans scored 17 unanswered points. Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker before halftime and led a field-goal drive to start the third quarter.

After a 49ers punt, the Titans took a 20-16 lead early in the fourth quarter when wide receiver Rishard Matthews beat linebacker Brock Coyle for an 8-yard touchdown catch. The 49ers defense was letting the game slip away.

But with 1:20 left, the defense stepped up. The Titans had the ball at the 49ers 32-yard line, facing third-and-2, trailing 22-20 after back-to-back 49ers field goals by Gould. Had the Titans picked up the first down, they could have run down the clock and kicked a game-winning field goal as time ran out.

But they didn't pick up the first down because defensive tackle DeForest Buckner stopped running back DeMarco Murray for a one-yard loss. The Titans had to go for the field goal on fourth down, go for it before they wanted to. The Titans made their field goal, going ahead 23-22.

Then Garoppolo entered the huddle with 1:07 left.

NOTES

Marquise Goodwin caught 10 passes for 114 yards. He needs 103 receiving yards in the final two games to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. His career high entering this season was 431 yards.

“Quise has been unbelievable,” Shanahan said. “He's turned into a true pro and he's playing like a legit starter.”

Reuben Foster suffered a stinger and left the game twice, but returned both times after short absences.

Aldrick Robinson suffered a concussion and did not return.

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