Jimmy Garoppolo does not deserve as much blame as he is getting for the San Francisco 49ers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Garoppolo is being called out all over social media and in sports media for not doing enough to help the 49ers win the Super Bowl, instead losing to the Chiefs 31-20.
You can say I’m just a “butt-hurt” Eastern student who wanted to see “his guy” win the Super Bowl, and yes, while I am upset Eastern could not rejoice in Garoppolo winning, it should just be common sense that his part of the loss is not as pronounced as people are making it to be.
For three quarters, Garoppolo, arguably, outplayed Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ quarterback who ended up winning the Super Bowl MVP award.
Now that means in the fourth quarter, Mahomes outplayed Garoppolo, which is completely true.
In the fourth quarter, Garoppolo missed receivers, panicked under pressure and did not step up and make a dynamic play.
That is all completely true, but saying he did not play well at all or is the reason the 49ers lost is unfair and simply not completely true.
After three quarters, Garoppolo only had about four incompletions, and, aside from his first interception, he was making good throws and smart throws.
People always say he does not throw very much, or for much yardage, or that he throws short passes a lot, but guess what: He makes smart decisions as quarterback.
Throughout the season, he has been an accurate passer and a smart passer, part of which is his sometimes reluctance to take risks.
His average pass is somewhat short, but if that is what the offensive playbook gives him, then why would he care about trying to average deeper passes?
Sure, his defense and running backs did a lot of the work to get to the Super Bowl, but he deserved to be a Super Bowl starting quarterback.
With that said, there are two people/things I point to for the 49ers’ loss: San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ offensive line.
San Francisco was able to run the ball effectively and called good passing plays (play action) in the first half and into the third quarter a little bit, but all of a sudden, in the fourth quarter, the 49ers stopped running the ball.
Raheem Mostert carried the ball 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship, and in the first half, 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel had some great runs.
Yet, when the 49ers needed to score in the fourth, Shanahan went away from running the ball, and, as someone mentioned to me, he coached “not to lose.” This means that rather than still being aggressive even with the lead, he played it safe and gave up momentum.
Also in the fourth quarter, the 49ers’ offensive line fell apart.
Give credit to the Chiefs’ defense for stepping up its rushing pressure, but if the Chiefs are able to step up and play their best like that, the 49ers should have been able to match them.
Pro-football-reference reported that Garoppolo was only sacked once (less than Mahomes), but even then, Garoppolo was pressured a lot in the fourth quarter.
A quarterback should be able to work under pressure of course, but knowing Garoppolo is not that guy yet, he should have gotten better protection.
Should Garoppolo have played better, and should he work on some things before next season? Yes, of course, namely being able to play-make when the pocket collapses and he is under pressure.
He is kind of static in the pocket and does not move around much, so that would be helpful for him. He also could work on his deep-throwing potency to add an extra layer to his arsenal.
But was he the sole reason the 49ers could not come back or win?
No, so stop making the storyline the fact that he is to blame.
Dillan Schorfheide is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]