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49ers’ Kyle Shanahan responds to Jimmy Garoppolo criticism: ‘Does anyone notice how good we were running the ball?’

Jan 28, 2020 at 10:39 AM--

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Jimmy Garoppolo's critics have been out in full force leading to Super Bowl LIV. They paint a picture of a San Francisco 49ers head coach who is afraid to put the game in his quarterback's hands and would rather run the football than throw it.

Garoppolo attempting eight passes in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers greatly contributed to the false narrative.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters from the J.W. Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami on Tuesday and was asked if he had to have a conversation with Garoppolo after two run-heavy playoff performances to explain that it wasn't due to a loss in confidence.

"No, I would not at all have to have that (conversation)," Shanahan responded. "I think its' really funny that people say that. Does anyone notice how good we were running the ball? We weren't just running it to punt and try to win 3-0.

"There was times, especially in that Green Bay game, we had a better chance of getting a 30-yard gain running it, just from some of the looks we were getting and things like that.

"Jimmy should never apologize for us running the ball too well. There's a number of times throughout this year -- I think we hit a lull defensively and running the ball halfway through the year where we had to open up games throwing to start it out.

"You look at the Minnesota game, our plan in that game was to run the ball. We kind of fell into that in Green Bay, but if you look at that first drive against Minnesota, we came out throwing, trying to loosen him up, because we knew they would be hard to run against. I think Jimmy was six-of-seven maybe on the first drive and led us right down there. We didn't have to do much."

Shanahan also noted that you can't run the football well if you don't convert on third downs.

"Jimmy has been as good as anyone to me on third down this year," Shanahan added. "When we've needed him to bring us back in games, he's done it.

"I've never been a part of a game where a quarterback completed two 3rd-and-16s on a final drive to beat the Rams, like he did. What he did in that first Arizona game, where I think it was a 3rd-and-16 also to get us back in the last drive. The second Arizona game, throwing to get back in that game.

"People have got to just watch the whole season, and they'll realize that's not the case."

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