No. 3: Facing Off Against the Blitz
Few quarterbacks enjoy facing pressure, but some manage to thrive when dealing with an opponent’s blitz. Case in point, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning managed an excellent 97.0 passer rating when facing blitzes, compared to a career-89.0 rating when facing non-blitzing rushes.
The 49ers have faced a number of blitz-happy teams already this season, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Week 1 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. Arguably, those were two of Garoppolo’s worst games this season, and he tossed for passer ratings of 80.2 and 82.4 in each of those contests, respectively.
Overall this season, Garoppolo owns a passer rating of 85.3 when blitzed, compared to 105.6 when facing a four-man pass rush. Eleven of his 19 sacks taken have come on blitz packages, and so have seven of his 10 interceptions thrown.
Teams will recognize these stats over the final stretch of 2019, perhaps taking advantage of Garoppolo’s tendencies to struggle when blitzed.
Typically, the best approach to beating a blitz is to throw into it, given the less defender(s) in the area where the blitz originated and the quarterback’s eyes naturally focusing on the spot from where the rush is coming.
But it’s easier said than done, and Garoppolo might stand to recognize it presnap, thereby cutting down on the higher-risk plays he’s endured in these situations.