What Jimmy Garoppolo taught us in 49ers Week 10 win vs. Chargers

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

Final. 16. 13. 22. 42

Jimmy Garoppolo once again proved effective quarterbacking doesn’t have to be flashy, and this was vital in the 49ers’ win over the Chargers on Sunday night.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t supposed to be a star player in Week 10 on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Chargers.

No, considering just how bad the Bolts defense was at defending against the run entering the game (allowing a league-worst 5.7 yards per carry), one would assume either running back Christian McCaffrey or wide receiver Deebo Samuel would take charge of the primetime bout and earn game honors for a huge night.

For the first half at least, Los Angeles did a commendable job to thwart the Niners’ rushing attack, and even McCaffrey finished the night averaging just 2.7 yards per rush.

While San Francisco’s ground game eventually broke open later on in the second half, there was still a good deal of pressure on Garoppolo to effectively manage the offense through the air.

Jimmy Garoppolo stats from 49ers win vs. Chargers

Garoppolo played anything but “hero ball” against LA on Sunday night, finishing the evening with a respectable-but-not-flashy 19-of-28 mark for 240 passing yards. He didn’t toss any touchdowns, although he should have had one when wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk dropped an easy catch in the end zone, but Jimmy G wasn’t hindered by any interceptions either.

For the night, Garoppolo finished with a 94.3 passer rating.

Additionally, Garoppolo did his patented QB sneak for a 1-yard touchdown, and he also mostly avoided being sacked, only being taken down by Chargers EDGE Khalil Mack once during the evening.

A quality night en route to the 49ers’ 22-16 win over the Bolts.

Jimmy Garoppolo shows effectiveness is better than flashiness

Sure, the Niners would love to have a quarterback who makes all the flashy plays, and perhaps that’s why they invested so heavily in now-injured QB Trey Lance a little over a year ago.

However, given San Francisco is chock full of offensive weapons like McCaffrey, Samuel, Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle, Garoppolo doesn’t need to carry the offense on his shoulders each and every week. It’s almost the polar opposite of what Los Angeles is experiencing with its own quarterback, Justin Herbert, who still managed a quality game for the first three quarters on Sunday night despite being without two of his best weapons, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who were out with injuries.

Garoppolo’s pass chart from Next Gen Stats is pretty indicative of his usual efforts, rarely outside the numbers and not typically tossing beyond 15 yards from the line of scrimmage:

But, if Garoppolo isn’t making those mistakes and is generally hitting the open player, the 49ers offense remains effective enough.

Although that off-schedule pass to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud was on point.

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And all those playmakers can generally do what they do best: make plays.

Going 9-of-17 on third downs was key for the Niners on Sunday night, and Garoppolo played a massive role in that. So did other contributors who aren’t classified as those playmaking stars, namely depth wide receiver Jauan Jennings, whose four catches for 40 yards all seemed so clutch.

Yet Garoppolo doesn’t have to be overly clutch. No, he needs to be effective. And that’s exactly what he displayed against the Chargers during Sunday Night Football, helping deliver San Francisco the win in front of a national audience.

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