Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Film Breakdown: The Jimmy Garoppolo Experience

Jason Aponte
Nov 22, 2019 at 2:36 PM


Coming off a tough loss against Seattle, the 49ers looked to rebound against an Arizona team that gave them fits on Halloween night. Jimmy Garoppolo had a career night in Arizona and was looking to duplicate that success in Santa Clara in front of the Niners faithful. 49ers fans have grown accustomed to the "Jimmy Garoppolo Experience" as it can be quite the roller coaster on Sundays. This game was no different so let's look back on some plays that stood out to me.

The offense came out flat to start while Arizona was off to the races early on offense. The 49ers found themselves down 10 with 3:06 left in the first quarter while facing a third and five. Garoppolo fails to identify the underneath linebacker dropping into coverage (foreshadowing for sure) and places the ball in a tough spot for Kendrick Bourne. Bourne hasn't exactly been reliable, but in this case, it would be tough for anyone to make this play. The throw looks predetermined, and Garoppolo has a tendency to have a bit of tunnel vision in certain situations. Luckily, it falls incomplete, bringing up fourth down.


Kyle Shanahan decides to go for it on fourth down, sensing the defense needed rest considering the two long scoring drives Arizona led to take a 10-0 lead. Pay attention to Kendrick Bourne at the bottom of the screen lined up in the slot. Bourne gets a good release and appears to be open for a possible catch and run to the sticks. Garoppolo likes Raheem Mostert's matchup better and drops an absolute dime for Mostert. At the last second, the play is broken up by the Arizona defender who played the ball by watching Mostert's eyes and hands. Turnover on downs and Arizona takes over with good field position.


With the Niners down 16-0 and needing a spark on offense, Kyle Shanahan went to his bag of tricks. He dials up this screen to Richie James, which turns into a big gainer and just what the team needed to get back in the game. James is in motion to the left, and Jimmy rolls right only to throw back to James, who has a convoy of giant men in front of him. Big play call in a big moment.


This play is a second and four after Garoppolo threw the previous pass away due to good coverage. The two outside receivers to the right run a route that stops in front of the line of scrimmage to create a pick for Tevin Coleman in the flat. This is a Shanahan staple from his time in Atlanta with Coleman, and it should have worked for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Jimmy tries to lead Coleman towards the end zone, and Coleman stayed flat, leading to an incompletion. Expect these plays to work better when Coleman and Garoppolo build more rapport.


It's now first and ten with 4:05 in the second quarter. Garrett Celek goes in motion to the right, and Emmanuel Sanders beats Patrick Peterson with a stutter step release. He has a step, but Garoppolo misses a wide-open Celek in the middle of the field. The read feels predetermined, and you can't dismiss the trust that Garoppolo has in Sanders, even during their brief time together. The pass lands incomplete, and a big opportunity is missed.


This is third and six from the same drive. Quarterbacks make their money on third down, but pay attention to the top of the screen, and you'll see Deebo Samuel lined up against Patrick Peterson. Before Deebo makes his break outside, you'll notice Peterson grabbing at his waist, sensing he's beat. The pocket collapses around Garoppolo, and he hangs in and delivers a strike to Samuel for the conversion. Garoppolo's toughness in the pocket often goes overlooked. He stands in here and delivers.


Let's move to second and six with 1:46 left in the first half. Emmanuel Sanders is lined up in the slot to the left across from Byron Murphy. Sanders wins on the release, but the ball placement here is excellent. It's just out of the reach of Murphy, who covered the route well. Sanders was clearly not himself in this one, which speaks to his toughness.


It's now the first play of the second half, and here's another example of Garoppolo hanging tough in the pocket. Coleman and Juszczyk split out wide, leaving an empty backfield, which was common in this game. Garoppolo waits for Coleman to clear the final defender to the left in the zone and hits Coleman for a big gain. Again, Garoppolo stands in the pocket and takes a shot, which results in a roughing the passer adding 15 more yards to the play.


Well, we knew this clip was coming. Honestly, this was Garoppolo staring down his target and not seeing the underneath linebacker (I told you, foreshadowing). It seems like once or twice per game, Garoppolo will have these head-scratching plays. It seems that the team will have to deal with this as it happens nearly every game.


It's time for another third down — one of the biggest in the game. There are two schools of thought on this play. You can say Jimmy showed confidence in his budding first-year receiver and trusted him to make a play, or you can say it's a bad decision placed in between two defenders. Why not both? Speaking of trust, Marquise Goodwin is open for an easy first down underneath. A bad decision or not, this was a monster conversion. Samuel is turning into the receiver that flashed so much in the Senior Bowl.


Let's take a look at the second interception. The Cardinals bring an extra blitzer, which forces Jimmy to release the ball faster than he'd like. The pressure forces an off throw, which Ross Dwelley gets a hand on, and it hangs up long enough for it to be intercepted. At first glance, you can say bad ball placement, but the pressure on this play can't be ignored.


Now to the game-winning drive. First and 10 with 1:48 left in the fourth. Not enough is made of how Garoppolo avoids sacks even coming off his ACL tear. He shakes off the sack and picks up eight on this crucial drive.


The very next play is a 50/50 ball for sure, but the decision isn't the best. Garoppolo hits Goodwin on the slant against Peterson, but this could have gone either way. It seems like he trusted Goodwin on this throw.


On the play following the tough catch by Goodwin, we see Garoppolo go right back to him, which can be described as a flat out drop. One has to wonder how much confidence in his receivers will go into potential decisions down the line and in bigger games.


BIG MONEY TIME. The final throw of the day for Garoppolo and it was a beauty. Arizona sends pressure, but Shanahan dials up a route for Jeff Wilson, on which he turns inside and beats the defender. Jimmy hangs in there and delivers the ball for the game-winner. After the game, Garoppolo would say he didn't see the play, but heard the crowd reaction and knew something good happened.


Overall, this felt like a typical Jimmy Garoppolo game. Some head-scratching throws, some throws that only strengthen the case for Garoppolo as a franchise QB. In big moments Garoppolo delivered and rewarded the defense for its play in the second half after adjustments by the coaching staff. Next up, Sunday Night Football against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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