When you make $26.9 million per season, expectations should be high. But George Kittle and Nick Bosa are tired of the Jimmy G slander. Especially after the 49ers’ epic 13-10 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round on Saturday.
Despite a second straight game with an ugly stat line, Jimmy G is one win away from reaching the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons. While detractors are still quick to point a finger at Garoppolo for his shortcomings (ahem), his teammates have his back.
“Jimmy G, you can’t say enough about that guy,” Kittle said. “The s–t that he takes – excuse my language. People consistently try to pull him down and all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team. He has a sense of calm in the huddle, a sense of calm in the storm.”
The latest loopty-loop on the Jimmy G roller coaster was a wild one. Garoppolo finished just 11-of-19 for 131 yards and a pick against the Packers. This performance comes one week after he went 16-of-25 for 172 yards and pick in a Wild Card win over the Cowboys that featured some notable miscues. Since leading the 49ers on a clutch game-tying drive in Week 18, Garoppolo is a combined 27-of-44 for 303 yards and two interceptions in the postseason.
“I thought Jimmy battled,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.
Shanahan, Garoppolo and the Niners are 4-1 in the postseason together. Or is it more accurate to say the 49ers are 4-1 despite Garoppolo? All 13 of San Francisco’s points came via special teams Saturday.
Kittle also took the blame for dropping a first-quarter pass when he beat his man in the seam. Both Kittle and Shanahan said it should have been a touchdown, so Garoppolo’s box score could have looked better Saturday night.
In reality, the 49ers’ first four drives of the game resulted in a grand total of minus-14 yards and four punts. Just as Garoppolo and the offense found a rhythm he threw a bad interception trying to force one to Kittle in the red zone. But on the game-winning drive, Garoppolo converted two first downs through the air (one to Kittle, one to Deebo Samuel) before setting up Robbie Gould’s field goal as the clock expired.
Nine plays. Forty-four yards. And 100 percent of the 3:20 remaining in the game.
“I’m impressed with his demeanor, just as a leader,” Bosa said. “A lot of people give him crap for whatever, but he’s as cool and collected as a quarterback as I’ve ever had. He’s a perfect guy to lead us where we need to go.”
Garoppolo often leaves us head-scratching, wondering, ‘How did he just win that game?’ But he keeps pulling rabbits out of his hat.
It’s also worth noting Garoppolo is working through thumb and shoulder issues that have cropped up over the past few weeks.
“Feel great. Just got a win,” Garoppolo said. “Injuries will hold up.”
Though Trey Lance was trending on Twitter as many clamored for the rookie quarterback, he never sniffed the field on Saturday night. Like it or not, this is Jimmy’s ride. At this rate, it might not be his last.
Say Garoppolo leads the 49ers to a second Super Bowl with a heroic performance on Sunday, what do they do then? Stay tuned for next week’s episode of The Jimmy G Experience.