It’s pretty hard to believe that heading into the 2019 season, Jimmy Garoppolo has only played eight games for the 49ers. After 2017’s five-game win streak to close the season, all eyes were on Jimmy G.
Garoppolo and the Niners faced the number one ranked defense from 2017 in the Minnesota Vikings in week 1. Let’s take a look back at the good and bad from the week 1 defeat:
The concerns with Jimmy’s game were largely about his deep ball accuracy. While it isn’t completely solved, there is evidence that the accuracy is improving.
You’ll see Dante Pettis at the top of your screen lined up against Trae Waynes. Pettis runs a beautiful route and gets behind both Waynes and Harrison Smith. Jimmy has a clean pocket and off the play-action throws an absolute dime which gets broken up at the last second by Waynes. Although it’s an incompletion, the ball was exactly where it needed to be in coverage.
In this clip, you’ll see the 49ers run a play-action to the right with Alfred Morris while George Kittle sneaks into the secondary. Kittle ends up wide open with Anthony Barr chasing and Andrew Sendejo sprinting from free safety. Jimmy lays it right into Kittle’s hands but he can’t bring it in. A rare miscue from the excellent Kittle but another good deep throw resulting in an incompletion.
This clip obviously makes it in the GOOD section. Keep your eye on Dante Pettis lined up to the right aside Trent Taylor. The pocket collapses on Jimmy and he spins out and spots Pettis running to the back of the end zone. As he’s moving left, Jimmy plants and drops a dime over Harrison Smith into Dante’s hands for the spectacular TD.
Intermediate throws have been Jimmy’s strong suit and he had his usual sharp quick throws but some better than others. Which brings us to:
A stat line of 15/33 and 261 yards with one passing touchdown and three interceptions isn’t pretty at all. Minnesota’s defense made things difficult for Jimmy and the entire offense all game. Minnesota harassed Jimmy into bad throws, but Garoppolo would definitely say this wasn’t his best game.
Let’s take a look at the three interceptions:
What you’ll see here is Kendrick Bourne at the top of your screen matched up with Mike Hughes. Obviously, this was a route miscommunication between the two, but the mistake costs the team seven points. We’ll chalk this one up to timing.
Pay attention to Dante Pettis at the top of your screen matched up with Xavier Rhodes. Pettis does a great job getting a clean release with good footwork. Unfortunately, the route is better than the throw. Jimmy overthrows the route and it lands right in Rhodes’ arms. This one is on Jimmy.
The 49ers found themselves with a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. In this clip, you’ll see Trent Taylor lined up to the left of Jimmy and he ends up matched up with Eric Kendricks. The matchup is in the 49ers favor, but the result is a game-ending interception. It’s tough to tell what Jimmy saw here and it’s possible there was another route miscommunication. Ultimately, the throw is poor and the decision looks worse.
The next 2 plays are passes intended for George Kittle:
Anytime you get George Kittle lined up on a team’s safety, you’ve got a good chance for success. Watch Kittle lined up to the inside to the left. George uses hesitation at the line of scrimmage and uses his speed to get right around Harrison Smith. Jimmy gets pressure in the pocket, but this is a missed opportunity for sure. That’s a walk in touchdown if the throw is on target.
Again, Kittle is lined up against Harrison Smith but this time to the right. George sells the outside route and breaks inside to get himself wide open. Jimmy sees it and just flat out overthrows him. This team struggles enough in the red zone without missed opportunities like this.
Overall, there are some positives and negatives. Give credit to the Vikings defense as they made everything difficult for the 49ers. Also, give credit to the 49ers in this game. The team as a whole didn’t play their best game and hung with Minnesota right down to the wire. This isn’t Jimmy’s best performance though.