49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo Was Most-Blitzed QB in 2019 NFL Season

GETTY Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers delivers a pass over the defense of defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson #99 of the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on November 11, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.

Jimmy Garoppolo played his first full-season for the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. He also happened to face more blitzes than any other quarterback in the league.

A recent stat from Pro Football Focus showed that Jimmy G faced extra pass-rushers more often than any quarterback in the league, with Seattle Seahawks rival QB Russell Wilson facing the second-most pressure in 2019.

Garoppolo’s blitz rate sheds an interesting light into the quarterback’s season totals in 2019, most notably his 13 interceptions, average yards per throw and completion percentage.

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How the Blitz Rate Interacts with Other Jimmy G Stats

Since the end of Super Bowl LIV and the 2019 NFL season, the debate around where Garoppolo sits in the tiers of NFL quarterbacks has raged, with detractors bringing up his interceptions and playoff performances and supporters bringing up his clutch play and his four game-winning drives last year.

Many of the numbers have Garoppolo sitting somewhere in the mid-range. However, with the context of how much pressure Jimmy G faced in 2020, it’s worth another look.

Being blitzed on close to 2-out-of-5 plays means means that the 49ers and Jimmy G have to run quick-hit passing plays, which became a successful hallmark of the San Francisco offense in 2019.

On the one hand, this inflates Garoppolo’s completion percentage. Throwing passes that travel shorter in the air is a generally less risky strategy, not just in terms of limiting interceptions, but also in terms of drive-ruining sacks and fumbles in the pocket.

It also speaks to his 8.4 yards per attempt, which was actually the NFL’s third-highest average in 2019, above Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.

However, when comparing the numbers, Jimmy G and the 49ers offense was undeniably affected by the consistent pressure. Garoppolo was sacked 36 times in the regular season, and threw 13 interceptions in 16 starts. This isn’t even bringing in the idea of dropped interceptions, which Football Outsiders analyzed and said Garoppolo could’ve had eight more picks if opposing defenses didn’t drop the ball.

Jimmy G has a reputation of being a check-down heavy, “clean” quarterback but the 49er is facing more pressure from opposing defenses than any other quarterback in the league, and the numbers show that he was affected.

Dak Prescott Franchise Tag Moves Garoppolo Out of Top 10 Paid QBs

In less important and lighter news, Prescott’s recent franchise tag signing means that the Cowboy will rake in $31.4 million in 2020, which officially puts Garoppolo out of the NFL’s top ten highest-paid quarterbacks.

To some, this may seem disrespectful to Garoppolo’s quality. However, from the 49ers’ perspective, the deal the team signed with their franchise quarterback  in 2018 only looks better and better.

However, that’s only if Jimmy G continues to improve and solidify himself as a quarterback worthy of a top-ten contract. If he does, $27 million in 2020 seems like extremely good value compared to what players like Prescott now earns, or what Mahomes will likely earn when he gets his second contract.

READ NEXT: 49ers CEO Talks Support for Black Lives Matter Movement, Current State of 2020 Season

Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and follow Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.

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