49ers Should Not Alter View on Jimmy Garoppolo Following Super Bowl Loss
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV has people sweeping the game with a fine tooth comb. The consensus is that the fourth quarter was the break point of the San Francisco 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo at the forefront.
San Francisco's defense had Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes under wraps for the majority of the game. That was until the fourth quarter arrived where Mahomes snapped into the epitome of greatness. The defense could no longer slow down Mahomes, so it was up to the offense lead by Garoppolo to shoulder the burden. They had proven countless times during the season that they're capable of doing so.
However, when it was time for him to rise to the occasion in the fourth quarter - Garoppolo faltered. He finished 3 for 11 for 36 yards and a horrific passer rating of 2.8. That’s not going to get the job done in any level of football. Had Garoppolo been able to make a few extra throws, especially the deep bomb to Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers would have likely won.
Garoppolo’s poor finish has his critics resurfacing from the depths of their hibernation. This time around, it is whether or not Garoppolo is the right quarterback for this team. Even some fans of the 49ers are taking to social media questioning if Garoppolo is the guy.
While the knee jerk reaction is to blame Garoppolo, the 49ers should not alter their view on him following the Super Bowl loss.
One quarter of a game does not and should not define Garoppolo’s season. I understand that it was the Super Bowl, but the overreaction to this is over the top. It’s nothing surprising considering the emotions are still raw for some people following the loss, especially blowing a two score lead.
People want answers and closure as to what happened and why. The fact is, Garoppolo did not play well in the end and was a contributing factor for the 49ers losing their second Super Bowl in franchise history. However, the loss was a collective team effort, and up until the fourth quarter he was performing quite well.
Garoppolo was 17 for 20 through three quarters with an output of 8.5 yards per attempt. It’s not like he played a mediocre game from start to finish. Outside of his interception in the first half, there was nothing wrong with Garoppolo’s performance. This is still the same player who matched Drew Brees blow for blow in New Orleans.
The same player that went into Seattle and bested the Seahawks for the first time since 2011 to win the division title. Those contributions and positive experiences do not become irrelevant just because he fell short in the Super Bowl. Greater players than Garoppolo have had similar or worse outputs. It's a game that will stick in most people's mind because it was the ultimate stage.
But that doesn't mean there weren't things to be excited about for the future of the 49ers and Garoppolo. He played a pivotal role that lead to the success this season and made progress as a player as the season unfolded. Anyone suggesting that the 49ers move on from him are clearly caught up in the moment of the game.
I've said it a couple of times now and I will say it again. One quarter of a game does not define his season nor the player that he is. Garoppolo is far from perfect and will need to work on some things, but he is the right guy going forward at the quarterback position for the San Francisco 49ers.
Let's not forget that 2019 was Garoppolo's first full season as a starter. Seeing how much of a jump he makes from year one to year two will be the true litmus test.