Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky defends 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo against doubters

Jan 22, 2020 at 7:15 AM--

The Herd's Colin Cowherd on Tuesday defended Jimmy Garoppolo against his critics as he wondered what everyone else is not seeing while watching the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. All Garoppolo does is win, and, for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves.

Now, the quarterback has his 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Yet, the doubters remain.

ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky is another member of the media who is bewildered by the Garoppolo doubters. He made it clear via Twitter on Tuesday that he is sold on the 49ers quarterback, even if others aren't.

During the second half of the regular season, Garoppolo played brilliantly. He threw four touchdowns in each of his two matchups against the Arizona Cardinals and combined 741 passing yards in those games. Garoppolo went toe-to-toe with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and won a shootout at the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints. He did what no 49ers quarterback has been able to do since 2011 — he went into Seattle and beat the Seahawks on their home turf.

Yet, the doubters remain.

A lot hasn't been asked of Garoppolo in the playoffs. He has attempted just 27 passes in two games while the 49ers rushing attack has stolen the show. That includes an eight-attempt outing in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo not being burdened with a heavy workload has led many to doubt whether or not head coach Kyle Shanahan has faith in his franchise quarterback leading to the biggest game of his career.

Regardless of how Garoppolo has done it, he has won. The 49ers have proven to be better with him than without. Cowherd pointed out that Shanahan is 21-5 with Garoppolo and 4-20 without him. Now, the quarterback is 2-0 in the playoffs.

The team-first Garoppolo doesn't care about credit, though.

"As long as we win, I'm pretty happy," the 49ers quarterback told reporters after his eight-pass outing in the NFC Championship Game. "So, as long as we win."

The hosts of the ESPN show Get Up, which include Orlovsky, debated on Tuesday if Garoppolo is trustworthy in a high-scoring game.

"I wonder what quarterback in the NFL leads the league in passer rating while trailing this season," Orlovsky said. "Oh, it's Jimmy Garoppolo. That's weird."

Garoppolo had four fourth-quarter comebacks this season, which tied with Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills for the most in the league. Both were playoff quarterbacks.

Garoppolo has completed a league-best 76.2 percent of his deep passes (15-plus yards) for a passer rating of 117.7 since Week 11. He's strong in clutch situations, too. Garoppolo's 69.2 completion percentage on third down ranks No. 1 in the NFL among qualifying (50 or more pass attempts) quarterbacks.

Oh, and that insanely difficult stretch of three games — against the Packers, Baltimore Ravens, and Saints — everyone was worried about? Garoppolo went 2-1 while completing 72.4 percent of his passes for 767 yards with seven touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 129.7 during that stretch. For fun, if you throw in the final game at Seattle, with the NFC West title and home-field advantage in the playoffs on the line, Garoppolo completed 74.5 percent of his passes for 1,052 yards and a passer rating of 128.4 during those games.

That's not bad.

"So, we have seen him perform when he's needed to," Orlovsky continued. "We talk about the Saints game, but he's also had the Seahawks game since then. He's also had the Rams game since then. He's also had the Falcons game, where he led them to fourth-quarter -- kind of take over those games."

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