While he wasn’t asked to do much, Jimmy Garoppolo at least managed the 49ers’ Week 10 win over the Rams in a very 2019-like performance.
Yes, two totally different teams over the span of two years. Yet, in a number of ways, how quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played Monday night was reflective of some of his team’s best performances two seasons ago.
In short, Garoppolo didn’t have to shoulder a lot of the offensive burden.
The Niners ran the ball 44 times. And even though they only averaged 3.5 yards per carry, it was clear the primary focus was to mitigate the risk of Garoppolo regularly testing an elite Los Angeles pass defense while also focusing on clock control to keep the Rams’ own offense off the field as much as possible.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan later confirmed this in his postgame presser by saying it was a goal to run the ball early and often.
This meant Garoppolo’s final line from the game was 15-of-19 passing for 182 yards and two touchdowns against zero interceptions, all for a passer rating of 141.7.
The offensive approach worked. While Garoppolo came close to tossing a couple of interceptions, overall, he did avoid turning the ball over, and San Francisco had nearly double the possession time in the game over Los Angeles.
All the while, Garoppolo effectively managed the offense.
Jimmy Garoppolo grades high vs. Rams because of getting the ball out quickly
The Rams were eager to feature their new pass-rushing tandem of All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and EDGE Von Miller, the latter appearing in his first game for Los Angeles after being acquired from the Denver Broncos, yet neither player was able to sack Garoppolo during the game.
In fact, the lone sack and quarterback hit Garoppolo took came from Rams safety Taylor Rapp.
While some credit should be given to the 49ers offensive line for handling its pass-protection duties well enough in Week 10, Garoppolo deserves some praise for working to get the ball out quickly, averaging a time to throw of just 2.08 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus.
Those quick releases negated both Donald and Miller to a large extent and certainly worked in the Niners’ favor.
Jimmy Garoppolo boasts an average grade for overall passing effort vs. Rams
In the spirit of a 2019-like performance where San Francisco didn’t ask Garoppolo to do too much, all one needs to do is take a look at his Week 10 passing chart, courtesy of Next Gen Stats:
Predominantly short throws in between the numbers and not beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The end result was effective, of course, and Garoppolo has never been associated with a potent deep-passing attack, and his attempts outside the numbers have been inconsistent at best over the course of his career.
As far as sticking to the game plan, Garoppolo would receive an A-grade for his performance.
But, considering Garoppolo’s overall impact, it’s hard to see this as anything more than a merely average outing.
Jimmy Garoppolo cumulative grade in 49ers win vs. Rams
Perhaps most importantly, Garoppolo played to his strengths and stayed within his limits in a game where turning the ball over could have spelled ultimate disaster.
Garoppolo was nearly picked off by Rams All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on an incompletion to wide receiver Jauan Jennings that was slightly above and behind the intended target in motion. Fortunately, the close call in this case merely meant a missed opportunity for extra yards and a slightly better completion percentage, which was already at 78.9 percent anyway.
There were, however, some quality tosses in tight coverage, such as his two touchdown throws, one to tight end George Kittle that got the 49ers on the board first and the other to wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who broke off for a 40-yard catch-and-run score.
The traditional stats carry weight here, too, even though the overall yards failed to exceed 200 yards.
From that vantage point, the Niners will happily take Garoppolo’s overall game grade.