In the SF 49ers 24-20 Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, a lot of things went wrong. However, no one cost the Niners more than Jimmy Garoppolo.
SF 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been a lightning rod for sports commentators for his entire career in San Francisco. While Niners fans have consistently shown confidence in their starting quarterback, even they will struggle to defend him after a terrible Week 1 performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
By the box score, Garoppolo had an OK afternoon. Jimmy G finished the game completing 19 of his 33 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.
However, a closer look left a lot to be desired.
While a blocked punt, some questionable defensive penalties, and bad play calling played a significant role in the SF 49ers defeat, the bulk of responsibility falls on Garoppolo. Erratic accuracy, bad reads, and a constant hesitation cost the team multiple opportunities to win in spite of their other errors.
The Cardinals didn’t lead at any point in regulation until the fourth quarter. Down 17-13, Garoppolo led the offense down the field to regain the lead, but even on that touchdown drive, San Francisco had to work harder than it should have.
On 2nd-and-goal, running back Raheem Mostert came out of the backfield and quickly found himself in the end zone with no one near him. The only problem was Garoppolo had already shifted his progression to the other side of the field. His pass fell incomplete, and this image shows you just how wide open Mostert was, as you can see here.
While Garoppolo completed a touchdown pass to a wide-open Jerick McKinnon on the next play, it ultimately summed up his day. Even when things went right for the 49ers offense, it was always after Garoppolo had done something wrong.
Without the team’s best defensive performance or their best receivers, it came back to bite them.
Fans have keyed in on the 49ers’ final offensive drive to criticize Garoppolo. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne broke wide open on a corner route to the end zone, but Jimmy G hesitated and underthrew the ball just enough for Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson to recover and knock the pass down. Then, on fourth down, slot receiver Trent Taylor ran an out route that should have easily moved the chains.
However, Garoppolo didn’t throw the pass until after Taylor had broken off his route, giving Cardinals defensive back Byron Murphy enough time to break up the pass.
Anyone could find those type of mistakes all day from Garoppolo. In their final drive of the first half, he threw a quick pass to tight end George Kittle. He missed the simple pass high and exposed Kittle to a free hit from a Cardinals defender.
Every facet of the SF 49ers Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals went wrong. But all of it could have been overcome if Jimmy Garoppolo rose above it. Instead, he sunk to the bottom. There is still plenty of regular season left, but Garoppolo will need to take huge strides if the 49ers want to reach the heights they did last season.