No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo is not a mere game manager
Let’s make no mistake about it, this is Jimmy Garoppolo’s team.
The criticisms of Garoppolo this season seemed ludicrous to me. While he was prone to the occasional bad throw, the idea that he couldn’t lead the team to victory behind his passing simply because the 49ers had blown teams out was ridiculous.
It wasn’t even true in that season, as Garoppolo lead the 49ers down the field and threw the deciding touchdown to Dante Pettis in the dying stages in the Pittsburgh Steelers game:
Well we can put that theory conclusively to rest, because Garoppolo was a true franchise quarterback against the Cardinals.
Garoppolo finished with 28-of-37 passing, 317 yards and four touchdowns. He could have had an even better day had he not been dropped several times.
They weren’t a result of screens or quick passes either. Garoppolo stepped up and fired downfield, with the most impressive stat being Garoppolo was 12-for-14 passing on third/fourth downs including all four touchdowns plus the winning first down.
Garoppolo was clean and precise throughout the game, and actually targeted his wide receivers a lot more than usual. While tight end George Kittle was still a primary target, Garoppolo had the confident to make several throws that made me go “wow” in amazement.
When the 49ers were unable to rely on the run to ice the game, Garoppolo stepped in with a pair of amazing third down throws where he first threw a strong pass under intense pressure to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and then looked to scramble before firing a dart to backup tight end Ross Dwelley to finally end the game.
Teams can put to bed the hope that they can beat the 49ers by forcing Garoppolo to throw, because when he had to pull out all the stops he was the quarterback that San Francisco fans all hope he can be.