For the past three seasons, the San Francisco 49ers have been one of the worst teams in the NFL, thanks to the front office blowing up the team after they fired former head coach Jim Harbaugh. This season, the team was expected to once again compete for the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but it doesn’t look like that will happen anymore thanks to a brilliant move by general manager John Lynch.
49ers vs. Jaguars
Sun 12/24 @ 3:05 pm EST
Levi's® Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Before the trade deadline, Lynch traded a second round pick in next year’s draft for New England’s backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. At the time, Lynch said he liked what he saw from Garoppolo when he started in place of a suspended Tom Brady last year, and would rather use the pick on a proven player than take a gamble on an untested quarterback coming out of college.
After the 49ers last game, a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans, which was also the team’s third consecutive win and fourth in five games, Lynch’s decision to trade for Garoppolo has been praised throughout the NFL.
Garoppolo who has only started five games in his career, looked like a seasoned veteran as he led the 49ers to their third straight win.
Before the final drive, there was a sense of calm on the sidelines because the 49ers had confidence that Garoppolo would lead them to a victory. Offensive lineman Brandon Fusco said the players weren’t surprised because they think Garoppolo is a special player and they also feel they have some good players on the team still learning how to win.
Despite the confidence the players have in Garoppolo, Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have admitted they didn’t expect things to go so well so soon with Garoppolo leading the team. The two men definitely didn’t expect him to help the team win three straight games for the first time since 2014.
A lot of the team’s success can be attributed to the fact that Garoppolo quickly asserted himself as the team’s leader in the locker room and the huddle, which helped command the respect of his teammates, who appreciate the way he handles himself and treats them.
Garoppolo also takes the time to talk to his teammates before each drive to either encourage them when they are doing well, and to keep them focused on the task at hand.
Garoppolo made Fusco look like a prophet because he had the 49ers in field goal range with plenty of time left on the clock, and the team actually had to milk the clock before Gould kicked the game winning field goal.
What made it even more impressive is the fact that he was able to do that against the sixth best defense in the league when it comes to yards allowed per play.
Shanahan added that he believed Garoppolo has been very successful because he is very composed, which he thinks is an important trait for a quarterback to have.
Despite the pressure he felt from the Titans defense, who blitzed a lot on Sunday, Garoppolo finished the game completing 31 of 43 attempts for 381 yards and one touchdown. He had a passer rating of 106.8 against one of the best defense in the NFL.
49ers Division Standings