Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance vs. Lions should impress 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo needed to impress in his first game of 2021. He certainly did as the Niners staved off the Lions.

We can dub the 2019 Super Bowl as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s most important game of his career.

But on Sunday against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, this was his most important game as a 49er.

The pressure surrounding Garoppolo is incredible. Every move he makes, every pass he throws, every hand off he orchestrates is watched with oversized magnifying glass.

Today he proved he’s still the guy… at least for this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s first half vs. Lions

It didn’t start pretty, however. On the 49ers’ opening snap he fumbled the handoff from center Alex Mack.

But once Jimmy G got going, he was playing absolutely near perfect football. Yes, it wasn’t deep balls with perfect accuracy on every play, however he got the ball out quickly and effectively.

In the first half, the only stat he was missing was a touchdown, which went to backup quarterback Trey Lance on the 49ers’ second drive of the afternoon.

Garoppolo ended the first half going 9-of-12 for 136 yards with 3 rushing yards. It wasn’t anything special, but the fact he was moving around the pocket, not forcing any throws which could lead to turnovers, and finding his main targets in wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle.

Garoppolo was comfortable.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s second half vs. Lions

As the second half got underway Garoppolo was brought back to earth. However, credit to the Lions defense for applying more pressure and forcing the Niners quarterback to make quicker decisions.

But with all the pressure, Garoppolo was able to make some fine throws with help from his receivers.

There’s no greater example than this Samuel touchdown catch:

Garoppolo was under pressure and still was able to chuck the ball, albeit under thrown, to Samuel who made a fantastic move back to the football. From there he was able to outrun the Lions secondary for the score.

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This game had shades of the 2019 49ers, which is obviously a good sign for Garoppolo.

He ended the game 17-of-25 for 314 yards and one touchdown pass. Certainly a major improvement from any game he was able to play last year. And with a healthy core, he should be able to thrive under pressure.

It’s only one game, and the Lions sure made things interesting late, but having Garoppolo playing his best right away is a great sign to start the 2021 season.

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