In the back half of the season, one particular stat related to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started to get notice in the San Francisco 49ers community.
When Jimmy G throws even a single interception in a game, the 49ers’ chance of winning goes drastically down. Per PFR, the 49ers are 2-6 when Garoppolo throws an interception. When he doesn’t toss the ball to the other team, San Francisco is 7-0 in his 15 starts.
Enter the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the league in interceptions with 16, and have returned five of them for touchdowns. When San Francisco takes on Dallas on Sunday, they’ll be hungry to add to that number.
But head coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t worried about his quarterback. After all, the 49ers boss has stuck with Jimmy G all season. During media availability, Shanahan was asked for his thoughts on Garoppolo’s interceptions.
Per 49ers Webzone, the coach defended his quarterback’s mistakes and praised how he responds to mistakes.
“Honestly, no differences than when he throws an interception. When you let that ball rip and you’re not scared of failing, things don’t always go perfect. And you watch a lot of good quarterbacks in this league and some do a really good job of never having picks, which is very rare. But even look at some of the great ones, they’re going to get some interceptions, they’re aggressive with it. Sometimes when they’re like that, you can keep both teams in the game, but usually they get you over the hump if you keep swinging. And that’s how Jimmy’s always been, sometimes it’s better than others, but when you throw the ball like that and if you’re not scared to fail, sometimes that stuff happens.”
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Garoppolo Starting Over Trey Lance
Garoppolo has had rookie Trey Lance backing him up all entire season. After being taken as the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, some thought the 49ers would look to trade Jimmy G before the 2021 season or just start Lance anyways.
But Shanahan has been steadfast in his quarterback plan. Garoppolo has always been the No. 1 guy this year despite media chatter, and the Niners head coach never wavered.
“We did think Jimmy was still giving us the best chance,” Shanahan also said per Webzone. “And we wanted to give Trey more time, not only just for him, but also for our team. And so it wasn’t a tough decision. We just stuck with it because that’s what the right decision was based off of film and based off of what we are in our building and our practice. And I’m glad the guys have come through and got us to this point and I’m real glad we’re still playing.”
The strategy has gotten San Francisco to the playoffs, but now it’s time to see if it takes them further.
Cowboys a New Challenge for Jimmy G
Considering he’s been in the league since 2014, one might think that Garoppolo has faced off against Dallas. And technically, he has, although it doesn’t feel like it counts.
The last time Jimmy G was on a field against the Cowboys was all the way back in 2015, when he was still with the New England Patriots. He didn’t start, only appeared for two snaps to kneel the ball at the game. Plus, even if he had played a significant amount of snaps, that’s still six years ago.
The 49ers did play the Cowboys in December of the 2020 season, but Garoppolo had been injured and missed the contest. Nick Mullens started instead, and the Niners lost 33-41.