SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo is a winner. He just wins.
That narrative could end if he loses to the Minnesota Vikings this Saturday.
Garoppolo’s career win-loss record is 21-5. Phenomenal. But he never has started a playoff game — he merely has watched playoff games from the sideline when he was Tom Brady’s backup on the New England Patriots. If Garoppolo wins his first playoff game, he will be a hero. If he loses, that loss could overshadow his regular-season resume.
Lots at stake for the young, ascending quarterback.
“That stuff is so funny to me,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday. “He could play great, and we might come up short and people would say he can’t win a playoff game. I felt like last week (against the Seahawks) was a playoff game. That was pretty intense. So I think he has shown that he can handle himself with poise. Hopefully he does it this Saturday, which will be his first playoff game.”
Playoff game No. 1 is a big deal for most quarterbacks. Last weekend, three quarterbacks made their playoff debuts: Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz. And their composite quarterback rating was just 64.8. Only Tannehill won and advanced to the next round, but he threw for only 72 yards. Not much to brag about.
Will Garoppolo struggle like those three, or will he outshine them?
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And check out this video I took of Dee Ford from Tuesday’s practice: