Jimmy Garoppolo redeems himself with solid performance in win vs. Rams
Jimmy Garoppolo desperately needed a “get right” game. And while he wasn’t the star, he was solid in the 49ers win over the Rams on Monday night.
That’s that version of Jimmy Garoppolo the San Francisco 49ers need if they are going to string together victories and be contenders in 2022.
Garoppolo was solid and, most importantly, mistake-free in the Niners’ defensively comprehensive smackdown of the Los Angeles Rams 24-9 on Monday Night Football to close out Week 4.
With the win, San Francisco moves into first place in the NFC West, as its 2-0 division record is the tiebreaker, with each team in the division sitting at 2-2 through four games.
The 49ers’ embattled quarterback finished the contest completing 16 of his 27 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown and a quarterback rating of 100.7. Vitally, the Niners’ offensive line, which featured its third different setup of the season to start the game (and even changed in-game on Monday night), held up against the Rams’ defensive line, allowing zero sacks and generally doing a good job of providing Garoppolo with time to throw.
In many ways, the win over Los Angeles was vintage Garoppolo. He took care of the ball and generally made smart throws while leaving it to his skill position players to rack up yards after the catch to move San Francisco’s offense down the field.
Take, for example, Garoppolo’s lone touchdown throw. On paper, it’s a 57-yard strike to wide receiver Deebo Samuel. But in practice, the ball traveled barely 5 yards in the air, was thrown high and just missed being intercepted by Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick. Samuel snagged the ball out of the air, broke the initial tackle and then scampered downfield, forcing Ram after Ram to miss him before darting into the end zone to give the 49ers a 14-6 lead just before halftime:
The story of the night, of course, was how dominant the Niners’ defense was.
They sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, playing behind a decimated offensive line, seven times, including two each from EDGEs Nick Bosa (now at six for the season) and Samson Ebukam, and one each from fellow defensive end Charles Omenihu, defensive tackle Hasaan Ridgeway, and slot cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.
And, of course, the play of the night came from safety Talanoa Hufanga, who perfectly read Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp, jumped the screen pass and snagged the ball out of the air to add a pick-six to his already impressive 2022 résumé.
The turnover, the first of the night for the Rams, essentially put the game to bed for the 49ers.
Jimmy Garoppolo performs up to standard in win vs. Rams
Jimmy G was probably asked to do more than most 49ers fans would have expected coming into the game. In spite of having the lead for most of the contest, the Niners only ran the ball 18 times, a wildly low total for a Kyle Shanahan-coached team given the game situation.
In that regard, Garoppolo played quite well, even though there were still a few “Jimmy being Jimmy” moments in the game, like when he missed a wide-open Kyle Juszczyk streaking down the field on a third-down throw that went to Samuel and missed the first down marker by a few yards.
But the quarterback also made some impressive throws in key moments, like his third-quarter completion to tight end George Kittle, which was perfectly placed and on time. And his best throw of the night was an incompletion to Kittle in the back of the end zone, but Kittle was unable to get his second foot down.
Garoppolo may be a roller coaster of a player for San Francisco, but when he is playing well, it’s clear he can do enough to keep his team in games in 2022.
And with the defense playing like it is right now, being a solid contributor might just be enough.