“TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS!” Now, if you’re a Pats fan, you’ve heard those two words a lot. But when we heard it for the first time with Jimmy Garoppolo starting as quarterback, it was a bit more special. Garoppolo helped the Patriots win games against the Cardinals and Dolphins in the 2016 season. Garoppolo threw for 502 yards and had four touchdowns. Not bad. Now, as the starting quarterback for the 49ers, he has won three games in three starts for the Niners (with a great game-winning drive against the Titans). What are the keys to success for Garoppolo and his team?
I think it’s important to note the relationship between head coach, Kyle Shanahan, and Garoppolo. Shanahan has always had high praise for Garoppolo as a quarterback. He said he loved his play at Eastern Illinois because it reminded him so much of Tony Romo, a retired, but notable quarterback. He said this when he was the offensive coordinator for the Browns when they had the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He wanted to take either Garoppolo or Carr over Johnny Manziel in the draft, but the Browns ended up taking Manziel (and either Garoppolo or Carr would’ve been a better pick). He had high praise for Garoppolo before he was even a quarterback in the NFL.
Last year at the Super Bowl Media Day, Shanahan was asked about Garoppolo and whether he would want to trade for him after he would become head coach for the 49ers. Shanahan mentioned how Garoppolo had a good throwing motion, being a tough player with his eyes down the field, and having a fast motion.
This season, Shanahan has continued to trust Garoppolo. The 49ers have the third highest percentage of pass plays in games this season (62.72%). Shanahan continues to run more passing plays than running plays, even though Garoppolo just joined the team.
Although Garoppolo has started against three teams who have a combined record of 16-23, he still has outstanding numbers and production. USAToday calculated what his numbers would be if he had started the season as the Niners quarterback. He would have a league-high yards per attempt (8.96 yards) and yards per game (313.5 yards).
Garoppolo has continued to impress in his games with the 49ers. He’s already had a game-winning drive against the Titans, which set up Robbie Gould for the game winning field goal. Robbie Gould also had a career high six field goals in the game, meaning Garoppolo was able to have many productive drives getting into the red-zone. It was the first time in a 12 year career Gould had six field goals, and it was with Jimmy Garoppolo as his quarterback.
The question is, can he continue to put up good numbers and get wins for years to come? I think so. He has the skill and coach to do it. The team beside him might need a bit of work.