“I’ve been called all the names in the book,” Fitzpatrick said. “People hate me, people love me, depending on the week. This external noise is not important. The important thing is to train and prepare everyone.
Fitzpatrick connected on a 3-yard TD pass to Adam Shaheen in the first practice of the game for the Dolphins (2-3) and didn’t give up.
The 49ers (2-3) are the team with quarterback questions after Jimmy Garoppolo was taken out at halftime after throwing two interceptions. Garoppolo had missed the previous two games with a sprained ankle and had never looked comfortable against a defense that had come in allowing the most dropback yards in the NFL.
CJ Beathard replaced Garoppolo at the half and threw a TD pass, but that wasn’t enough to keep the Niners from falling back home. San Francisco is 2-0 this season at MetLife Stadium with resounding wins over the Jets and Giants, but have lost all three games at home.
“Our veterans need to play better,” said All-Pro tight end George Kittle. “It starts with me. Our whole unit does not play very well together. We have the guys to right the ship. Nobody jumps, nobody points a finger.
The Dolphins dominated on both sides of the ball with five sacks, three takeaways and a near-perfect performance from Fitzpatrick.
Coach Brian Flores called the win the best win since arriving in Miami last season.
“This is the kind of preparation we need,” he said. “We have to do it every week. We need to put a few together.
Fitzpatrick converted on deep touchdowns at DeVante Parker and Preston Williams and led the Dolphins to their most significant road game since 1986.
“We’ve always had the talent,” Williams said. “We just had to run. That was all it was. Now we are trying to figure it out.
Garoppolo finished 7 for 17 for 77 yards, two interceptions and a 15.7 odds. This is the fourth worst score for a 49ers starter since Bill Walsh arrived in 1979, defeating only Cody Pickett (7.5 against Chicago in 2005), Alex Smith (8.5 against Colts in 2005) and Steve Young (14.3 against Jaguars in 1999).
“I know he doesn’t normally throw the ball that way and I think he struggled because of it,” coach Kyle Shanahan said of Garoppolo’s ankle. “The way the game was going, I wasn’t going to keep putting him in those positions.”
Flores did not remain conservative even with a big lead in the second half. With Miami facing a fourth and one in their own turf in a 30-14 game, Flores called a scythe that Clayton Fejedelem converted with a 1-yard run on a direct snap. Fitzpatrick took advantage of that with a 32-yard TD pass to Williams.
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Jason Sanders threw three field goals in the final two minutes of the first half, which hasn’t been done since at least 2000. He sent 26 yards with 2:00 left to give Miami a lead. from 24-7. Garoppolo then threw interceptions at Bobby McCain and Xavien Howard on the next two drives to set up kicks from 50 and 29 yards.
Sanders has scored five field goals in total, giving him a franchise record 14 in a row to open the season.
With the Niners down, starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams, the Dolphins took advantage of replacement Brian Allen. He was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday and struggled from the start, allowing Williams a 47-yard pass in the opener. Fitzpatrick repeatedly threw his direction and drew a pass interference call and beat him on a 22-yard TD pass to Parker who went 21-7 in the second quarter.
Allen was then taken out of the next possession for Ahkello Witherspoon, who was active despite a hamstring injury. The Niners were hoping to use Witherspoon only in an emergency, but he told coaches he was okay with going, so he entered.
49ers: DT DJ Jones left in the first half with an eye injury.
Dolphins: Host the Jets on Sunday in a game that was postponed from Week 10 as the NFL juggles the schedule because of the coronavirus.
49ers: welcome the Rams on Sunday night.
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