Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo acknowledges mistakes during 49ers-Cowboys, says outside noise fuels him

Jan 17, 2022 at 9:17 AM--

"It held up," Jimmy Garoppolo said of his injured right thumb after the San Francisco 49ers' 23-17 playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys. "Pretty much the same as last week. I mean, it's a day-to-day fight."

The torn ligament and chipped bone in Garoppolo's thumb may have contributed to the quarterback's costly fourth-quarter interception. Garoppolo was targeting wide receiver Trent Sherfield, but the football ended up in the hands of Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown.

"I didn't grip it the right way," Garoppolo later told NBC Sports' Peter King. "Not trying to make excuses, but things happen like that. Really not too much more to it than that."

Garoppolo owned up to another costly mistake—the false start on tackle Trent Williams. Williams could not believe the call, looking around in disbelief after the penalty, campaigning for a correction. It looked as though Garoppolo had successfully converted a fourth-and-one with a quarterback sneak, sealing the win, but the penalty gave Dallas life.

"It was a quarterback sneak all the way, but Jimmy got real excited because of the look but didn't let Trent get set," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "He's got to let him get set. It ended up not being a problem, though. I was going to struggle answering [questions about the play] if we lost. But yeah, Jimmy's got to let him get set. It didn't look to me like he false started. He just didn't get in his stance yet."

Garoppolo told King, "That's on me. I was over-zealous there."

A win is a win, and the 49ers will head to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. It's a rematch of the Week 3 Packers win at Levi's Stadium. But, for Green Bay and its fans, it's really a rematch of their last playoff meeting, an embarrassing 27-20 loss in the NFC Championship Game following the 2019 season.

For the 49ers, it's another opportunity to prove themselves and play better football.

"We know we have things we need to get better at, and we need to execute better, but winning is winning when you're in the playoffs," tight end George Kittle said. "And we have an opportunity next week to go out and win again. We have an awesome opportunity versus the Packers. ... I'm really excited about it."

As for Garoppolo, he's had to listen to the criticisms all season. The 49ers drafted his replacement, which made the situation awkward—at least from an external view. Garoppolo has handled the situation with class, though.

"I think a big part of it is just knowing who you are—as a player and a person, really," Garoppolo told King. "That will take you a long way. It's kind of a big part of just my mental game. I know what type of quarterback I am. I know what type of player I am in this league and where I stand. All the noise out there and everything, keep it coming. It fuels me, and it keeps me going. It's a good thing when people are talking about you."

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