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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers: Schrager not sure missed Super Bowl throw to Emmanuel Sanders was all Jimmy Garoppolo’s fault

May 20, 2020 at 10:51 AM--

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It's widely considered the one play that could have dramatically changed the outcome of Super Bowl LIV. No, I'm not talking about the San Francisco 49ers defense's failed attempt to stop "2-3 Jet Chip Wasp" on 3rd-and-15. I'm talking about the missed fourth-quarter connection between quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders that likely would have sealed a San Francisco victory and championship.

I say "missed connection" rather than "overthrow by Garoppolo" because most have been quick to place the blame of that failed play on the quarterback's shoulders. Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football doesn't sound so sure it was all on Garoppolo, though.

The morning-show hosts conducted a round table this week discussing the best coach-quarterback duos in the NFC West. While Nate Burleson went with the Seattle Seahawks and Kyle Brandt with the Arizona Cardinals, Schrager picked Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo in San Francisco (or Santa Clara).

"I think Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo have something going for them this season where everyone's writing Jimmy off," Schrager explained. "... It's as if Jimmy Garoppolo didn't do anything last season. In fact, I saw Jimmy Garoppolo go into New Orleans and outplay Drew Brees, and lead his team on an 80-yard drive to win a game they needed to in the middle of the regular season.

"I saw Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 17 go into Seattle with Russell Wilson and all his amazing prime-time performances and beat him in his building to win an NFC West title.

"I know he only threw the ball eight times in the playoff win over the Packers. I know that Vikings win was really about the running game and getting it going, and, of course, what Kittle did in the blocking. Don't sleep on a team that had a quarterback and an offensive-minded head coach go right from 4-12 to a Super Bowl last year."

During the breakdown of why he picked Shanahan and Garoppolo, Schrager potentially shifted some of the blame for that missed connection with Sanders away from Garoppolo, suggesting that maybe it wasn't all on the quarterback.

"I'll go with Jimmy and Kyle," Schrager continued, "and I will go with the edge of everybody forgetting everything they did because of a Super Bowl loss. Hey, if Garoppolo hits Emmanuel Sanders on that pass, we're talking about a Super Bowl champion. You know what? I'm not so sure that was on Jimmy. That might have been on Emmanuel Sanders not catching that ball."

Garoppolo, however, shouldered the blame for the missed opportunity on the potentially game-changing throw to Sanders.

"Obviously, some throws I wish I had back, some throws I made differently," Garoppolo said three days after the heartbreaking defeat. "The one to E, just missing him, putting a little too much on it. But you've got to be a man. You've got to own up to those things. So, some things I'd rather have back, but this whole year, it's been incredible."

Garoppolo added that the Super Bowl loss would fuel both the team and himself this offseason.

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