No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers must thrive off slants and screens
San Francisco almost never asks Jimmy Garoppolo to throw deep. Even when it does, Jimmy G’s lack of arm strength rarely makes this a good approach. Tack on the poor weather, and it’ll likely be even tougher for Garoppolo to take advantage of any deep passing opportunities even with a questionable Indianapolis secondary.
Plus, with the interest of getting the ball out quickly, there needs to be another approach for Garoppolo to execute a successful passing attack.
The answer? The 49ers have to rely heavily on those high-percentage passes: screens, wheels and quick slants.
Take a page out of Garoppolo’s Week 3 efforts against the Green Bay Packers, whose defense was about as questionable as that of the Colts:
Only seven of Garoppolo’s 25 pass attempts were for more than 10 yards, and five of them were even behind the line of scrimmage.
As challenging as it might be for Niners ball-carriers to work their efforts in the rain, it could be even more challenging for Indianapolis’ defenders to properly execute tackles in the wet weather.
In that regard, Week 7 isn’t the time for Garoppolo to “go deep.” No, instead, Garoppolo should focus his efforts on high-percentage throws not far beyond the line of scrimmage, thereby letting his players’ skills with generating yards after the catch be the X-factor that does the most damage.
This helps with avoiding whatever pass rush the Colts will try to muster, and it’ll also keep San Francisco’s own offense moving the ball despite the inclement weather.
The 49ers and Colts kick off on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 8:20 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium.