Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan explains his unwavering trust in Jimmy Garoppolo, says 49ers are ‘battle-tested’

Jan 17, 2022 at 10:03 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo makes his mistakes. That hasn't deterred head coach Kyle Shanahan from sticking with him, though. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback delivered a gutsy performance in the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, playing through a torn ligament and chipped bone in his right thumb.

The Week 18 win set up a playoff matchup against an old rival—the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers went into AT&T Stadium and emerged with a 23-17 victory, which was anything but pretty. A playoff win is a playoff win, though, and the Niners will move on to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.

Garoppolo finished the game 16-of-25 passing for a pedestrian 172 yards and a rather ugly interception. But he did so while enduring the pain of throwing. That has earned Garoppolo even more respect from his coach and teammates.

"Jimmy's been unbelievable this year," Shanahan told Albert Breer of The MMQB after the game. "And I really think when Jimmy's been healthy and he's played, he's playing how he always has, which is more like a top quarterback. I think people are a little unfair with him, but Jimmy, he's the same guy regardless. I mean, I've known him for five years, and he's always the same guy, and the guys really fight for him.

"He did throw that pick, but the ball got away from him. It did. It wasn't a bad decision, just got away from him. And I've been down that road with Jimmy. … When he throws a pick, it doesn't change him. He's gonna still be the same, and that's why I always have the confidence to keep going back with him and just try to call what's right."

Garoppolo owned up to the costly interception, blaming his injury but trying not to make excuses.

"I didn't grip it the right way," Garoppolo told NBC Sports. "Not trying to make excuses, but things happen like that."

Garoppolo will have to endure the pain for at least one more week. A win on Saturday would mean a second trip to the NFC Championship Game in three years and gets the 49ers one step closer to the Super Bowl.

This season didn't go as planned. Yes, the team won 10 games. However, they also lost seven, finishing in third place within the NFC West. Nevertheless, Shanahan feels that the adversity of this season, starting 2-4 but winning eight of the last 11, has prepared his team for this moment.

"It makes you battle-tested. It allows you to get stronger and get closer," Shanahan told Breer. "When you do that, I think it gives you a chance to do something special. I'm just glad we got in this tournament in that last game, and the guys did an awesome job today (Sunday). Now it's on to Green Bay."


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