Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan has an interesting perspective on the criticism of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Nov 16, 2019 at 10:30 AM--

Some members of the media criticized Jimmy Garoppolo following the San Francisco 49ers' Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks (example 1, example 2). Maybe some of that criticism is fair, but had the 49ers won that nail bitter of an overtime game, perhaps some of that criticism would have been redirected.

Criticism comes with being an NFL quarterback, however. Much of the time, the position garners a lot of praise when you win. It is also often the target when you lose.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan understands the nature of the quarterback position, which is why he doesn't place all of the blame for Monday night's loss on Garoppolo.

"I think that's just the nature of this business," Shanahan said during a KNBR interview this week on the "Murph and Mac" show. "I mean, we lost an emotional game. He had some bad turnovers, which gave them a chance, so when that happens, you are going to take a lot of heat. That's part of this position. I also think we were very close to winning that game and could have in a number of ways.

"I also think, just on Jimmy's part, Jimmy didn't have his best game. We also did have 108 yards in drops, too, which would have been a huge difference in that game.

"You've got to be able to handle that stuff. That's part of football. That's part of sports. We put ourselves out there; you're going to compete, let it all go. You're going to do some good plays and some bad plays, and you're really going to be judged on those good and bad plays based off of whether you won or lost."

Garoppolo finished the game having completed a season-low 52.2 percent of his passes for 248 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The quarterback's passer rating of 66.2 was his second-lowest of the season (Week 7, at WAS, 59.8).

For San Francisco, the game came down to a botched potential game-winning field goal attempt by fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin. Had the football split the uprights, Monday night's post-game script would have been flipped.

"Russell, he played great, but he also threw a huge pick that we should have won the game because of," Shanahan continued. "We make that field goal, and I bet you a lot of people are saying some things about Russell. But since we didn't, and they go down and win, [and the perception for Wilson was that], he was great."

Shanahan shared some of the criticism for the loss with his play-calling at the end of the game. He explained that had he known the outcome, he obviously would have made different calls. But the coach believes in his players and their ability to convert the plays he called.

"Now, if you know that's going to happen and you know you're not going to be able to throw and catch on those first two downs," Shanahan said, "hell ya, I'll take that back and I'll take two knees on those first two downs, and go for a tie. But I've got confidence in us that we can make those. We didn't at that time, so that's why I look back at myself when I should have done something different, but I'm going to have a hard time ever believing that we can't get that done."

Garoppolo took responsibility for some of the blame this week, saying he could have thrown the football better to make it easier on his receivers. What wasn't said by the quarterback was that his receivers, though, could have done a lot more to help him out, given that the 49ers' analytics staff counted 108 yards of missed opportunities.

"Jimmy knows that he has some plays that if he didn't turn it over and stuff, or whatever, we would have had a better chance of winning," Shanahan added. "But that's every week, week in and week out, so you can't get caught up in everyone blaming you because if you do, it's too hard. You're not going to make it."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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