Eye-Opening Stat Shows What 49ers Need From Jimmy Garoppolo

49ers Jimmy Garoppolo Stat

GETTY CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 12: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a twelve-yard pass for a touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk #11 in overtime to win 26-23 over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

It’s almost kind of crazy how much the San Francisco 49ers depend on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to play a clean, consistent game.

Just take this past Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons as an example. Only one touchdown for the veteran quarterback, but 18 completions on 23 attempts and 235 yards was all that was required. Move the chains, punish opposing defenses when they cheat against the run, and don’t turn the ball over.

That last one is arguably the most important. The Niners’ defense is good enough to give the team a chance even when the offense is stalling, but San Francisco simply doesn’t have a chance against top-tier teams when they put the defense in disadvantaged situations.

One stat shows exactly how real this is. 95.7 “The Game” host Damon Bruce pointed out a simple, but telling stat: When Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t throw an interception, the 49ers are undefeated.

In the seven games this season that Garoppolo hasn’t tossed the ball to the other team, the Niners are 7-0. Meanwhile, San Francisco is a meager 1-5 when Jimmy J throws an interception. The lone win came in the 34-26 thriller against the Minnesota Vikings.

If that doesn’t show exactly how vital Garoppolo’s play is to the 49ers success, there may not be a stat that does. Garoppolo has progressed in the right direction this season, but even with a star-studded cast around him, it’s clear that limiting mistakes is vital to winning.

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Analyzing the San Francisco 49ers Wins

When you look at Garoppolo’s numbers on Pro Football Reference, there’s not a lot of monstrous performances in the Niners’ wins. He hasn’t thrown three touchdowns in a game this year. But that’s okay.

San Francisco is run-focused, and even when they get off to a bad start, head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t look to put the offense on Jimmy G’s shoulders. This may be best evidenced by the fact that Garoppolo has only thrown 40 or more times in 3 of 14 games.

But instead of looking at the ceiling, peer down at Garoppolo’s floor. Along with the game against the Falcons on Sunday, let’s remember the wins against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 and the against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.

In Philadelphia, Garoppolo threw for just 189 yards and one touchdown, but no picks and that translated to a scrappy 17-11 win. In Chicago, he didn’t reach the endzone through the air. But he completed the passes he needed to for 322 yards and added two rushing touchdowns to boot.

These weren’t conventional stat lines, but they were clean and showed what Jimmy G needs to do week-to-week.

Other Side of the Jimmy G Coin

It’s safe to say that 49ers fan morale was at its lowest after Week 7. A 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts off a bye week meant three straight losses and a 2-3 record.

Plus, Garoppolo’s play over that losing streak was pretty rough. He threw for just over 600 yards in three games, with four interceptions, and, of course, three losses.

That stretch is the dark side of Jimmy G. When those picks are coming consistently, it doesn’t give much hope for a 49ers defense that allowed 28.6 points per game over that span.

It’s night and day for the 49ers when Garoppolo is turning the ball over. It’s not that the team needs him to be MVP-quality to win, it’s as simple as protecting the ball. Oh, and after losing three fumbles in his first five games, Garoppolo hasn’t lost one since. The 49ers are 6-2 in that span.

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