SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's first start in front of his new home fans brought plenty of excitement. A little late Garoppolo magic and some help from kicker Robbie Gould also brought the 49ers their first three-game winning streak since 2014.
Facing his toughest test yet, in the form of the Tennessee Titans' top-five-rated (by efficiency) defense, Garoppolo was unfazed and once again put up big numbers in leading the Niners to their best win of the season -- a 25-23 triumph at Levi's Stadium on Sunday.
Along the way, Garoppolo completed 31 of 43 passes for a career-high 381 yards with a touchdown for a passer rating of 106.8. The win was Garoppolo's fifth in a row as a starter, making him the first quarterback to win the first five starts of his career since the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
And when it mattered most, Garoppolo quickly completed three passes for 45 yards to set up Gould's game-winning, 45-yard field goal. Gould -- no surprise -- converted, as he has on every kick he has attempted since Garoppolo took over as the starting quarterback.
With a whole lot of help from Gould -- who made all six of his field goal tries -- the Niners sent their fans home happy for just the second time this season. And, with Garoppolo at the helm, dreaming of plenty more big victories in the future.
What it means: The victory is the 49ers' third in a row, their first three-game win streak since 2014 and improved them to 4-10 on the season with two games to go. Sure, their draft position could continue to fall, but a win against a quality opponent such as Tennessee sends a stronger message that this team is headed in the right direction.
What the 49ers did well: The Niners dominated the game in the early going, completely controlling the clock and possession in the first quarter. Garoppolo was on target throughout the first half and continued to find ways to make plays when things broke down. Garoppolo & Co. also came to life in the closing moments to steal the victory. The defense, meanwhile, came up with an early takeaway to help set up a score. That group also got a stop when it needed it most in the fourth quarter, forcing the Titans to go three-and-out to set up a potential game-winning drive.
What the 49ers didn't do well: Although the Titans didn't light up the scoreboard, the 49ers' defense didn't have one of its better days. It struggled to get off the field on third-and-long on multiple occasions and couldn't keep Tennessee out of the end zone on a third-and-goal from the 8. The second half was particularly worrisome, as the Titans scored 17 unanswered points and successfully kept the Niners' offense off the field. In the third quarter alone, the Titans had the ball for 12 minutes, 3 seconds. On the few opportunities the Niners' offense had in the final two quarters, it was unable to get much going, as receiver Trent Taylor had a key drop on a third down in the third quarter to kill a potentially promising drive.
Fantasy fallout: Receiver Marquise Goodwin continues to be the beneficiary of the Niners' upgrade at quarterback. He was targeted 13 times and finished with 10 catches for 114 yards. Goodwin has played his best football over the past three weeks with Garoppolo at quarterback and is suddenly in realistic striking range of his first 1,000-yard season. For the year, Goodwin has 51 catches for 897 yards.
Good as Gould: Gould continued his outstanding season with another perfect day, converting all six of his field goal tries, including one from 50 yards, and knocking through his only extra-point try. Were it not for the Rams' Greg Zuerlein, Gould would likely be a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl, but he should be in the mix for it regardless. He has now made 36 of 38 field goal attempts on the season and has hit 20 in a row. Gould is a perfect 15-of-15 since Garoppolo came aboard.
What's next: The 49ers get to stay home for the holidays, but the test will be even tougher next week with the Jacksonville Jaguars coming across the country for a Christmas Eve showdown.