The San Francisco 49ers opened up Week 9 of the 2019 NFL season by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 28-25. Jimmy Garoppolo's magnificent performance dominated the post-game conversation. The narrative that formed was based around the fact that Garoppolo finally won a game in which the running game was not clicking, and the defense was not its usual, dominant self. After Kyler Murray connected with fellow rookie, Andy Isabella, for an 88-yard touchdown to cut the deficit down to three (after a two-point conversion), the 49ers needed an answer. Garoppolo put the team on his shoulders and executed a game-sealing drive, which killed the 4:47 left on the clock to lead the 49ers to an 8-0 start.

Garoppolo played terrific in this game, making accurate throws from a "muddy" pocket and throwing his receivers open with anticipation. The box score for Garoppolo looked spectacular, as well. He went 28-of-37 (75%) for 317 yards passing, 8.5 yards per attempt, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Box scores can be misleading at times, but that was not the case here, according to Pro Football Network's Offensive Share Metric (OSM).

PFN formulates OSM by looking at a combination of mostly the NFL's very own NextGen stats and some others. Doing this allows us to see how well a quarterback or receiver did with what only he could control. OSM accounts for things like air yards, completion probabilities, and differential, aggressiveness, and more. If a quarterback performed poorly in these areas, then it is logical to conclude that he is not the reason for his team's offensive production. Instead, we would find that others on the offense played a more significant role in the success.

Click here to read more about OSM over at Pro Football Network.

In laymen's terms, OSM captures how much a player contributed to his performance. The higher the OSM, the less he relied on his teammates for his success and vice versa. In the Thursday night contest, Garoppolo posted his second-highest OSM grade of the season. Based on the scale creator Brett Yarris made, his 30.26 mark received a grade of "very good." Up to this point, Garoppolo had posted the following OSM grades:

Week 1: 12.87 (QB29)
Week 2: 19.63 (QB21)
Week 3: 37.33 (QB3)
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: 26.94 (QB10)
Week 6: 19.63 (QB22)
Week 7: 21.07 (QB16)
Week 8: 26.35 (QB15)

According to NFL's Next Gen stats, Garoppolo finished with the second-highest completion percentage (75.7), third-highest completion percentage above expectation (7.3), second-most touchdowns, 10th most completed air yards (6.5) and highest QB rating (136.9) in Week 9. This was his best game of the year as he posted the best or second-best figure in each of the above metrics.

As I mentioned above, the film supports his high level of play, as well. He did a terrific job of navigating the pocket, making accurate throws from a "muddy" pocket, throwing with anticipation, and throwing his receivers open.

While the detractors will say this was "only the Arizona Cardinals," you can only use that excuse for so long before you have to buy into the team as a contender. We know San Francisco has arguably the best play-caller in the NFL, a stout run game, terrific pass rush, and suffocating secondary. The only question mark was if Garoppolo could put the team on his back when needed. Well, the film, box score, and PFN's advanced analytics (OSM) say he is 1/1 thus far in doing just that. When Garoppolo plays like he did last Thursday, there isn't a team in the league the 49ers can't beat.
  • James Aguirre
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    Husband and father of two. I'm a fantasy football and NFL betting writer for the Pro Football Network (@PFN365). You can find all of my work there.