Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo toughs it out to win OT thriller against the Rams

Chris Beno
Jan 10, 2022 at 1:00 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers' decision to play quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday against the rival Los Angeles Rams was heavily scrutinized from the start. And rightfully so. Garoppolo suffered a torn ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand during the Week 16 game against the Tennessee Titans. That injury will require surgery this offseason.

However, head coach Kyle Shanahan felt confident with putting Garoppolo out there Sunday in a must-win matchup to make the playoffs. The uncertainty of that decision left many fans on edge leading up to and during the game at SoFi Stadium.

When the 49ers fell behind by 17 points in the first half of the game, it appeared that head coach Kyle Shanahan's decision was going to be the nail in the coffin for their season, as well as Garoppolo's time with the 49ers. San Francisco will likely trade or release Garoppolo this off-season after the team sold the farm to draft Trey Lance last April.

Garoppolo looked shaky in the first half on Sunday with several missed throws, including an interception by Rams safety Taylor Rapp. Granted, the ball was underthrown after Garoppolo was hit as he was releasing it.

Garoppolo also appeared to be protecting his hand at the mesh point on handoffs for most of the game, which painted the perfect picture of the inevitable fumble that would surely take place at some point. Luckily, it never did.

The 49ers came out swinging in the second half and quickly established the run, which had been lacking in the first half. Elijah Mitchell finished the game with 21 carries for 85 yards.

The Rams were 45-0 when going into the half with the lead. In fact, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats, when the 49ers punted the ball late in the 4th quarter, the 49ers had the lowest win probability of any team to eventually win the game since Next Gen Stats was established in 2016.

This game was the tale of two halves, as Garoppolo showed us every level of what he brings to the table. Garoppolo had questionable misses, including multiple turnovers like this interception thrown into triple coverage.

But in the midst of some of those misses, Garoppolo also made some big-boy throws and stepped up when it mattered most.

This game as a whole was a microcosm of what Jimmy Garoppolo has always been: good when it matters. He is the only guy who can start a fire, put it out, and then be praised for how he battled back. No one can question his toughness, but questioning why the fire started in the first place is justified.

Garoppolo finished the game 23 of 32 for 316 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, relying heavily on his playmakers to help him out.

Garoppolo overcame a lot on Sunday. He stepped in with uncertainty surrounding his offensive line, uncertainty for how his injury would affect him through four quarters of football, and he risked his long-term health playing with that injury.

Make no mistake, Garoppolo wants to play, and he wants to win.

Garoppolo didn't do much to help the team early on, but he fought through it and overcame the odds. Fans should feel confident going forward in the playoffs that they have a quarterback who will fight through adversity until the very end.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focused on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I didn't realize it was something I wanted to pursue as a career, but am now focused on doing just that. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles people put out there.
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