The San Francisco 49ers traded for former New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the trade deadline because they thought it would be a good idea to go after a player that has some NFL experience instead of starting over with a rookie next season.
Since the trade, the 49ers odds improved with Garoppolo, but the team felt he needed a few weeks on the bench to learn their offense. Garoppolo finally got his first start as the quarterback of the 49ers on Sunday, against the Chicago Bears, and led the team to a win.
Even though he didn’t have gaudy numbers, Garoppolo did a very good job leading the offense. He completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards and one interception in what ended up being a strong outing for the former Patriots backup.
Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Bears red zone five times in the game, but the team ended up settling for field goals after the drives stalled in the red zone. While the lack of touchdowns in the red zone didn’t look good for Garoppolo and the offense, it was great for their kicker Robbie Gould, who made five field goals to help the 49ers defeat his former team.
One thing that stuck out with Garoppolo during the game was his command of the offense, despite still being relatively new to it. From what he showed on Sunday, Garoppolo seems to be perfectly suited for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.
Garoppolo is mobile enough to run bootlegs out of the traditional play-action plays, which he did during one of his first passes in the game. He can also find the open receiver while running the bootleg, which he also did during the game.
Another reason the 49ers and their fans should be excited about Garoppolo is the fact that he is confident enough in the offense and has no problem changing plays at the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t like the look the defense gives him.
The fact that Shanahan is also comfortable with him changing plays at the line of scrimmage also means the coach is comfortable with his quarterback’s ability to read defenses, which has been a problem for past quarterbacks in the franchise.
Even the interception he threw on Sunday wasn’t his fault. Garoppolo was looking for an open receiver and threw a catchable ball behind his target. The receiver adjusted to make the catch, but when he did, Bears corner Kyle Fuller was there and ripped the ball out of the receiver’s hands and got the interception.
One of Garoppolo’s best throws came in the final drive of the game as he led the offense down the field to get the win. The Bears were able to get a rush on the 49ers, and a defender made it up the middle and was about to bring Garoppolo down.
Instead of falling and taking the sack, Garoppolo stood tall in the pocket and delivered a strike to his receiver, who was between two defenders, but was still able to haul the pass in and get the first down while putting them in field goal range.
One thing is for sure, even though he didn’t throw a touchdown in Sunday’s win, Garoppolo looked very much like the real deal.
San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 3, 2017