49ers Monday musings: Always a wild ride with Jimmy Garoppolo

The “Jimmy Garoppolo Experience” was in full effect on Sunday during the 49ers 27-24 overtime victory in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Troy Reeder (51) tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Nearly every game with Garoppolo is filled with more ups and downs, twists and turns than a roller coaster ride at the amusement park across the parking lot from Levi’s Stadium.

The roller coaster had barely left the loading zone yesterday before the first big drop, occurring when Garoppolo fumbled the ball after getting hit on the 49ers second possession.

It dropped again when Garoppolo’s pass down the middle fluttered into the hands of Rams safety Taylor Rapp.

From there things began to turnaround as Garoppolo led the 49ers to their first points of the game on a quick drive which started with only 38 seconds remaining before halftime.

After the break, the 49ers offense looked like a completely different unit.

San Francisco’s run game began to click and Garoppolo converted on third down with a 13-yard completion to JaMycal Hasty. After veteran quarterback hit Brandon Aiyuk with a 31-yard strike, Deebo Samuel finished the possession with a 16-yard burst to the right side to pull the 49ers to within seven.

With the score tied at 17, the 49ers looked poised to take their first lead of the game. Instead, San Francisco came up empty handed when Garoppolo threw high and behind tight end George Kittle. Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey got his hand on the ball and was able to stay with it, juggling the ball until finally securing an interception in the endzone.

Taking over from their own 12 with only 1:27 left to play and no timeouts, Garoppolo engineered the 9th fourth quarter comeback of his 49ers career, finding Jauan Jennings over the middle for a game tying 14-yard touchdown.

Garoppolo led the 49ers offense to a field goal on the opening possession of overtime and Ambry Thomas intercepted a Matthew Stafford on a deep pass down the right sideline to secure a playoff berth for San Francisco the wild ride that is the “Jimmy Garoppolo Experience” came to a thrilling close for 49ers fans.

Deebo Samuel is the 49ers MVP

There has been a lot of talk about left tackle Trent Williams being the MVP for San Francisco this season.

While Williams has been very good in 2021, the 49ers most valuable player is Deebo Samuel, and he showed why yesterday.

Against the Rams, Samuel hauled in four passes for 95 yards with another 45 yards and a touchdown coming on eight carries. Samuel wasn’t done there; he also threw a 24-yard touchdown to Jauan  Jennings to tie the game at 17 in the third quarter.

Samuel finished the regular season with 14 total touchdowns, the most by a 49er since Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens had 14 total touchdowns in 2002.

Kyle Shanahan’s decision to move Samuel into the backfield more often over the second half of the season energized the 49ers offense, giving them the explosiveness they had missed while staring the season 3-5.

Don’t call it a wasted season

There have been several articles and comments on social media about how this was a wasted season for the 49ers.

The thought process is based in the belief that anything other than a Super Bowl victory is a wasted season.

That’s a flawed view.

This is no longer the 49ers of the ’80s and ’90s when the team won 10 or more games in 16 straight seasons.

Over the last 20 seasons, the 49er franchise has reached the 10-win mark only six times.

You need to learn to walk before running and that’s exactly what the 49ers have done this season.

Trey Lance may have only two starts but he showed improvement from week five to week 17.

Ambry Thomas was languishing on the bench until being forced into the starting lineup due to injuries. He’s improved each week and his interception yesterday sealed the 49ers trip to the playoffs.

Elijah Mitchell finished the regular season with 963 rushing yards, the most by a rookie in franchise history, and the most by any player since Carlos Hyde ran for 988 yards in 2016.

In addition to the rookies, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings showed a great deal of improvement in their sophomore seasons.

Aiyuk saved his best performance of 2021 for the last game, finishing with six receptions for 107 yards. While his receptions dropped this season, his yards per reception jumped from 12.5 to 14.8.

Jennings showed improvement throughout the season, and like Aiyuk he saved the best for last. Against the Rams, Jennings finished with a career high six receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. His five touchdown receptions on the season match the mark put up by Aiyuk

The final script for this season has yet to be written, and the future looks bright for San Francisco.

Defense comes up big when it matters

The 49ers defense looked outmatched in the first half. That changed after halftime.

Led by their pass rush, San Francisco would allow only seven points in the second half and overtime.

Arik Armstead led the 49ers with a career high 2.5 sacks. Quite the performance considering Armstead had 3.5 sacks over the course of the first 16 games.

In addition to Armstead, sacks would be recorded by D.J. Jones, Fred Warner, Arden Key and Nick Bosa.

Bosa has been the key to the pass rush all season long, finishing the season with 15.5, the fifth highest total in 49ers franchise history.

Even when he isn’t getting to the quarterback himself, the attention that Bosa draws helps to open opportunities for the rest of the 49ers pass rush.

Take it away

Emmanuel Moseley may have missed the previous four games due to injury, but he made his presence felt against Los Angeles.

With the game tied at 17 in the third quarter, Moseley picked off a deep throw from Matthew Stafford intended for Ben Skowroneck. The leaping grab was the first interception of the season for Moseley and the third of his career.

This article has 23 Comments

  1. With the game tied at 17 in the third quarter, Thomas picked off a deep throw from Matthew Stafford intended for Ben Skowroneck. The leaping grab was the first interception of the season for Moseley and the third of his career.

    You meant Moseley?

      1. Wow such a nuisance Gavin haha jk!

        I was so surprised how seemlessly Moseley and Greenlaw fit in after not playing for 5-7 games.

        1. Yep! Super impressed with both. Especially Moseley. He played the opposite side (reverting to the side he was on in limited action in 2019) so Thomas could stay on the side he’s been playing.

  2. How about Hasty? Did a nice job chipping Miller and had a crucial 3rd down run as well as a couple grabs, one for a 1st down I think.

  3. The sad thing for JG is no matter how well he played last Sunday and no matter how well he plays in the playoffs is he has to be gone before next year. If his salary is still on their cap next year they will have to trade, release or just not resign about 10 anywhere from great to very good players. I just hope JG can improve his trade value in the next couple of games and I believe the Cowboys and Pack are the teams to do it against.

    1. There will be a trade market for Jimmy regardless of how the season ends. The good thing for any team that trades for him is that he will be in a contract year. Teams saw how he played in a “prove it” year this year. It’s a low risk trade for any of these teams…

      Buccaneers (Brady could retire)

    2. Anyone notice hapless Jed York greeting JG on the field immediately after the game? JG hardly paid him any heed. And who can blame him? York is such a clown.

  4. “Even when he isn’t getting to the quarterback himself, the attention that Bosa draws helps to open opportunities for the rest of the 49ers pass rush.”

    Man you aren’t kidding. In the first sack of the game for the 49ers, Bosa was getting triple teamed. The other 3 D Lineman all got to Stafford but it was the triple team on Bosa that opened everything up.

  5. Shannie’s almost OCD-like attention to plays and plays that build off of plays.

    Perfect way of looking at it – this is the main reason why I think Trey would change the offense.

    If KSHAN is calling plays to set up the next play – Trey with 2 attributes can blow it all up – first by scrambling out of the play and second by throwing the long ball.

    There is no way with Trey we are running 15 plays on one drive – I can see Trey gaining lots more yards quickly, forcing KSHAN to adjust his play calling.

    I see similarities between Trey and SD Herbert.

    1. Do you have something against 15 play drives? These are demoralizing to the defense. You don’t seem to recognize what the the rest of the league knows – Kyle is one, of if not the best, play callers in the league. Every passing play has a deep option and hopefully Trey will be able to hit more of these but he won’t be scrambling out of too many plays if he wants to be a good QB. He needs to learn to hang in their and make faster decisions.

      1. In addition it keeps the opposing offense off the field and when they finally get their chance they feel pressure to score quickly. That is exactly how we will beat Dallas. I’ll take a 15 play 8 minute drive every quarter.

      2. 15 play drives are great when playing in bad weather and closing out a game…….but last time I checked you need those big plays to win the SB.

        1. We lost to KC because we could not sustain a long drive at the end of the game. They scored 17 points in the last 7 minutes and we scored 0. A 15 play drive would have resulted in another ring.

      3. Apparently going 88 yards in a minute and one second is not fast or explosive enough for some people.

        Even though it took Montana two and a half minutes to win the Super Bowl on a similar drive.

  6. Interesting fact that may only interest me. NFL leaders for Yds/Attempt passing.

    1. Joe Burrow – 8.9
    2. Jimmy Garoppolo – 8.6
    3. Trey Lance – 8.5
    4. Matt Stafford – 8.1
    5. Kyler Murray – 7.9
    6. Russell Wilson – 7.8
    7. Aaron Rodgers – 7.7

    Man that NFC West is loaded. And Kyle Shanahan has the best offensive strategy.

  7. I was thinking the 49ers are really missing home run hitters since Raheem Mostert has been injured. Elijah Mitchell is great at maximizing every run. He turns no gain into a 4 or 5 yard run on a regular basis but he rarely hits the long ball. In the 2019 season where Mostert was so effective he had three 20+ yard runs and two 40+ yard runs. His regular season avg yards per carry was 5.6 yards per carry. Elijah Mitchell has six 20+ yard runs but zero 40+ yard runs. Mitchell averages a very healthy 4.7 yards per attempt which is tied with James Robinson, Aaron Jones, and Dalvin Cook. I’ve heard Mitchell ran a 4.32 but he doesn’t play at that speed. I really like Mitchell but I think a true speed back to compliment Mitchell’s tough running would be a great addition next year. Maybe Mostert or someone new to the team.

    1. Mitchell’s running style reminds me of Frank Gore. I hope Mostert is back next year as a 10 carry a game back. Sermon will fill the role as the #3 back

      1. Thats a good comparison. Gore was a RB who used toughness and vision to maximize every run. Gore was never fast. I think he was a 4.6 guy. Mitchell seems the same but probably a little faster.

        I’m really down on Sermon. I was super excited when the 49ers drafted him. In fact, at the time of the draft I felt like Sermon would be the biggest steal in the draft. He seemed like a perfect fit for the outside zone scheme. Unfortunately, after watching him this year I feel like he just doesn’t have the vision needed in this offense. He doesn’t read blocks well and he doesn’t anticipate where the hole will develop. Very disappointed in how that has worked out. I think Sermon may have a chance to be a decent NFL RB but not in this offense. Aaron Banks and Trey Sermon look like totally wasted picks right now. I may be proven wrong but I highly doubt it.

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