49ers Week 2 game vs. Bengals critical for Jimmy Garoppolo

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

With Jimmy Garoppolo struggling in the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Niner Noise details why Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals will be crucial for his short- and long-term outlook.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played about average in the Niners’ 31-17 Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. He earned a C-minus grade in Niner Noise’s postgame grades and analysis. Niner Noise’s Jeremy Wolfhart was a bit kinder in his article, giving Garoppolo a C-plus.

In any case, there was a ton of room for improvement.

He threw for 166 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The biggest issue from Garoppolo was his lack of anticipation on routes. He was quick to lock in on a target and throw, which resulted in some missed opportunities and his ugly pick, as Niner Noise’s Elvis Jerez breaks down here.

Countless of writers and analysts have spent time breaking down the mechanics and reasoning behind this showing. But there’s a hidden element to Garoppolo’s play which could greatly affect the 49ers heading forward.

Last year, Garoppolo started the season on a bad foot, throwing three interceptions in Week 1. The 49ers, of course, lost that game to the Minnesota Vikings, and the biggest takeaway was how loose Garoppolo was with the ball.

So, against the Detroit Lions the following week, Garoppolo made sure to hold onto the ball and not risk it. The issue there? He ended up taking six sacks, and his aversion nearly cost the 49ers the game, save a penalty on Detroit after a would-be Lions interception.

Finally, against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, Garoppolo decided to avoid sacks at all costs, by scrambling more than he should.

The result from that, a torn ACL and a lost season for San Francisco.

This may be a bit of an exaggeration of what transpired, but the central theme remains the same: Garoppolo over-corrected from each game, only creating more and more problems.

In his five-game win streak back in 2017, Garoppolo played loose and free, not over-analyzing everything he did. While he did throw more interceptions than preferable, he was a game changer.

When he gets into his own head, Jimmy G loses that ability.

This is why Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals is critical for the franchise quarterback. A lack of anticipation and accuracy, if not an inherent problem, usually stems from being uncomfortable in the pocket, therefore making quick off-target throws without scanning the defense. If Garoppolo over-corrects from Week 1, there will be a lot of sacks and low chance of victory.

Being in the pocket for a long time to scan the field completely and make a clean throw is ideal. It is not the nature of the NFL, however. Garoppolo needs to grow confident in his eyes and his progressions.

Next. 3 options 49ers have to replace running back Tevin Coleman. dark

This is a question of Garoppolo’s mindset rather than his ability, as John Middlekauf explains when on KNBR 680 (h/t 49ers Webzone). While correction and growth are important, Garoppolo’s ability to settle himself and not over-correct will be key to the season.

Garoppolo and the 49ers kick off against the Bengals on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. ET.