Last week, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played his first football game in almost a year after tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season. The results were underwhelming. The QB finished with a 0.0 passer rating, raising concerns among the Bay Area faithful. Prior to last season, the 49ers signed Garoppolo to a 5 year/$137 million contract.
After spending a little more than three seasons in New England as Tom Brady’s understudy, the hype surrounding Garoppolo was at an all-time high. During limited playing time during the 2016 season, he managed to pass for 502 yards with 4 touchdowns and a passer rating of 113.3.
In 2017, it seemed that Jimmy was destined to spend another season as the ageless Brady’s backup. Despite his success in small-sample sizes, Garoppolo was stuck in-a-rut and had no chance of passing up the quarterback, who with six Super Bowl wins is arguably the greatest player to ever play the position.
Then by mid-season, the 49ers came calling and traded a second round pick in the National Football League Draft to acquire Garoppolo. The move was made with the idea that Jimmy would be San Fran’s quarterback of the future. His impact was felt immediately. In five starts. The QB led his new team to a 5-0 record. Meanwhile, he was 120-178 passing for 1560 yards and threw for 7 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 96.2.
Fans in the Bay Area had reason to be optimistic about their football team for the first time in quite a while, feeling that 2018 would be the season they finally return to the playoffs. All those feelings disappeared when Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Fast forward to Saturday night — The 49ers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17. Garoppolo played the entire first half. The 49ers offensive line displayed an improvement regarding their pass-protection, which resulted in Jimmy looking much more comfortable than he did in this past Monday’s game. This time, he finished with a passer rating of 116.2, while completing 14 of his 20 passes. For his efforts, the QB threw for 188 yards with one touchdown, while also protecting the ball well and throwing no interceptions.
With the game expected to be his final tune-up action before the start of the regular season, fans will have to wait until Week 1 to see more of the hyped quarterback.
If he can manage to stay healthy, it’s possible that Garoppolo can be the next great San Francisco QB following the likes of Pro Football Hall-of-Fame inductees Joe Montana and Steve Young. Throughout his career, he has displayed good decision-making ability and a competitive will to win. Those attributes will be vital while playing a full season in 49ers’ Head Coach Mike Shannahan’s system. The playoffs are the goal, but at the very least “Jimmy G” will make a little-bit-of noise and get some “California Love” from the Bay Area faithful.
Header Photo Credit: New York Post