The unit has since looked nothing like the slow starter offense during this current 3-1 charge — and the veteran quarterback’s play has been credited as one reason behind the ‘Niners’ resurgence.
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But as one NFL expert pointed out on Monday, November 22, Garoppolo’s renaissance began with a recent trip to his home state.
Jimmy G Since Halloween
Garoppolo, who grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois and played his college football at Eastern Illinois, put together a spirited performance in his home state against the Chicago Bears: 322 yards, a 60.7% completion percentage and the 49ers snapping their slump in the 33-22 road win.
Here’s the significance of that home state visit for Jimmy G, as noted by The Athletic’s David Lombardi:
Via the graph Lombardi shared, Garoppolo has the highest percentage than everyone in QB efficiency, which includes Kirk Cousins of Minnesota and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay. He’s also higher than past league Most Valuable Player winners Lamar Jackson of Baltimore, Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and his ex-New England Patriots teammate and seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.
That trip to Chicago has turned Garoppolo into an efficient, accurate and mistake-free quarterback again. Here’s a deeper dive.
How Garoppolo Has Become a Different Quarterback
Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus also explained Garoppolo’s reversal:
From a stats standpoint, Garoppolo has seen a strong flip from that slow start. Here’s where things once were when the 49ers sat at two wins:
Adjusted Yards Gained per pass attempts (AY/A): There was a decline here on Garoppolo’s end after averaging 13.36 AY/A in the season opening win over the Detroit Lions. In the Week 2 Philadelphia Eagles win, the AY/A dropped to 6.97 and declined to 4.11 for the Indianapolis Colts loss according to Pro Football Reference.
Yardage consistency: Garoppolo only had one 300-yard game during the 2-4 start — the 314 he threw in the 2021 opener. Minus the Week 5 Arizona Cardinals loss when Trey Lance took over as OB1 as Garoppolo nursed an injury, the veteran 49ers QB threw for no more than 189 yards in three of the first five games.
Interceptions and fumbles: Ball security was an early issue for Jimmy G when the 49ers stood at two victories. Garoppolo’s interceptions? Four. Fumbles? Five. And fumbles lost? Three.
Here’s how the aforementioned three stats have since flipped.
AY/A: Now, including the Halloween trip to Chicago, the AY/A hasn’t fallen below 8.03. His best AY/A game during the turnaround? Averaging 11.68 in the 31-10 romp of the Los Angeles Rams, who had traded outside linebacker Von Miller making his Rams debut.
Yardage consistency: Garoppolo has put together two 300-yard games (the 322 versus Chicago and 326 versus Arizona) during the 3-1 surge.
Interceptions and fumbles: In the last 16 quarters of play, Garoppolo has only thrown one pick — which was in the 31-17 loss to the Cards. That pick, as Lombardi noted, was made during desperation time. And during that span, he hasn’t fumbled.
Regardless if Garoppolo lines up in the shotgun (which is now at a higher rate, mentioned here) or behind center, the 30-year-old has been proficient at taking care of the football, taking advantage of what the defense gives him and winning on the crucial downs, especially the ones mentioned by Lombardi below.
We’ve seen a different Jimmy G during the 3-1 spark. And it all began with a return back home.