When Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a torn ACL during Week 3 of the 2018 season, the last thing on the quarterback's mind was the good that might come from the injury.

The San Francisco 49ers went on to win just four games that season. As the weeks passed, Garoppolo turned the injury into an opportunity. He used the time to study hard, become more familiar with Kyle Shanahan's offense, go through plays in his head while on the sideline, and improve "from the neck up," as general manager John Lynch once put it.

Another good thing that came out of last season's mounting losses was that it allowed the 49ers to earn a high draft pick, which they used on defensive end Nick Bosa.

Now, San Francisco is in the NFC Championship Game, knocking on the door of the Super Bowl, thanks to players like Garoppolo and Bosa.

"Things have a way of working out," Garoppolo told reporters on Wednesday. "I always told myself it was a blessing in disguise, you know, the ACL and everything. We got Bosa out of it, so that's a pretty good trade-off, I guess.

"Things have a way of working out, I guess. This ride is crazy. You've just got to roll with the punches."

Shanahan's first thought after watching his franchise quarterback being carted off the field probably wasn't, "At least we'll get a high draft pick." The 49ers head coach pushed on, trying to win, and, like his players, continuing to fight.

Over a year later, though, he can look back and acknowledge that, in the long run, the situation helped the 49ers improve.

"It definitely helped," Shanahan said. "I mean, everything happens for a reason, and you need to get good players in, some difference-makers, and Bosa has definitely been a difference-maker. I'm very glad we have him. I don't wish 4-12 on anybody, but after going through it, it's nice what it brought us."

Bosa had a feeling early on that San Francisco might be his destination, especially after reports of the Arizona Cardinals' infatuation with quarterback Kyler Murray surfaced.

Teams drafting in the top 10 are typically doing so because they lack talent. That wasn't the case for the 49ers, Bosa thought. The rookie knew, at the time, that San Francisco was a better team than its record indicated. How did he know that?

"Just being a football fan, last year, knowing what kind of players they had on the roster," Bosa answered. "I didn't know to this extent how good the depth was and stuff like that, but I just knew, of the top teams picking, this was definitely the most playoff-ready team."