Jimmy Garoppolo deserves a lot of credit for 49ers win vs. Rams

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

51. Final/OT. 27. 42. 24

After a horrid first half in Week 18, Jimmy Garoppolo gutted it out in a must-win showing that went to overtime against the Rams.

I was not overly kind to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the bulk of the Niners’ Week 18 must-win contest against the Los Angeles Rams.

Chances are, a sizable chunk of the fanbase wasn’t kind either and probably wanted head coach Kyle Shanahan to pull out all the stops and reinsert rookie quarterback Trey Lance to spark a team that got off to a 17-0 deficit.

And an offense that was, at one point early in the game, outgained by LA 136 yards to minus-3.

Garoppolo, whose starting status was up in the air after he suffered a thumb injury back in Week 16 and saw Lance pull off an impressive win over the Houston Texans a week later, was a big reason why San Francisco was in that deficit.

He was also a big part of the comeback the 49ers managed to engineer, finally pulling off the 27-24 win over Los Angeles to finish the regular season 10-7, clinching a Wild Card berth in the process.

Jimmy Garoppolo bucked the 49ers’ 2021 interception narrative

By now, you’ve come to know the Niners record when Garoppolo tosses an interception. Entering Week 18, they were a perfect 7-0 when Jimmy G didn’t throw a pick, 1-6 when he did.

After tossing two interceptions against the Rams, including a dreadful one in the red zone with the game tied, intended for tight end George Kittle, bobbled and then picked off by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, all signs pointed to Garoppolo being the reason why San Francisco would lose:

Especially with LA responding on its subsequent possession with a go-ahead touchdown.

Yet Garoppolo was money on the 49ers’ desperate game-tying drive right before the end of regulation, going 4-of-5 and finishing off the drive with a dart to a wide-open wide receiver, Jauan Jennings, to ensure the Niners would live just a little longer.

Gutsy. And deserving of respect.

Jimmy Garoppolo commands respect from 49ers, should command fans’ respect as well

Garoppolo’s outing was far from perfect. And San Francisco has traditionally tried limiting his net passing attempts to around 25 per game, particularly when facing off against a dangerous Los Angeles squad that still won the NFC West despite losing to the 49ers.

In the end, Garoppolo went 23-of-32 for 316 yards, the touchdown to Jennings against two interceptions, all for a passer rating of 87.5.

At least Garoppolo bucked the interception narrative being a dagger to the Niners’ victory hopes. And he impressed head coach Kyle Shanahan, who told reporters the following after the game:

"Jimmy has always been good with bouncing back from picks. It’s tough when you’re trying to run the ball a ton, so you don’t get into too much of a rhythm. … But, gosh, he made some good plays. That one down there in the red zone, that pick he had with him and George [Kittle], it was real tough.But to come back and lead us down there, however many yards it was. I think it was over 80, to tie it up and send it into overtime, he was unbelievable what he did."

Garoppolo, too, could have sensed the moment, realizing San Francisco could have settled for a tie, which would have guaranteed a playoff berth anyway.

Instead, he also felt as if the win would give the 49ers the momentum they need to advance further in the postseason:

"It was a special moment. There were times on the sideline where we were all talking and the tie, we heard about it, and we didn’t want to think about it. We wanted to get this win, and that’s what we did. Just guys came together. Guys made huge plays on third down. The defense stepped up huge."

Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo relationship with Trey Lance is still crucial for 49ers

If the Niners had lost the game, Garoppolo would have taken his share of lumps. But he could have deflected those a bit by citing his thumb injury. That might have been the pro-Garoppolo narrative.

Now, there’s no way Shanahan can move away from Jimmy G and go with Lance with what Garoppolo did to ensure San Francisco would clinch a playoff berth.

And even for those who aren’t Garoppolo fans, they certainly have to appreciate how he bounced back and helped the 49ers get their most important win of the season.

49ers grades from playoff-clinching OT win vs. Rams. dark. Next