49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo on Trade Rumors, Criticism: 'Keep It Coming. It Fuels Me'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2022

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo participates in a post game press conference after an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. San Francisco beat Dallas 23-17. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
AP Photo/Roger Steinman

Jimmy Garoppolo has spent the past nine months facing a combination of trade rumors and fans calling for his job after the San Francisco 49ers traded up to draft Trey Lance last April. 

After leading the 49ers to an upset win over the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's wild-card matchup, Garoppolo opened up to Peter King of NBC Sports on how he's able to keep perspective amid the chaos:

"I think a big part of it is just knowing who you are—as a player and a person, really. That will take you a long way. It's kind of a big part of just my mental game. I know what type of quarterback I am. I know what type of player I am in this league and where I stand. All the noise out there and everything, keep it coming. It fuels me and it keeps me going. It's a good thing when people are talking about you."

Garoppolo threw for 172 yards and an interception in the 49ers' 23-17 win. His fourth-quarter interception was a turning point that allowed the Cowboys to shift momentum and get back in the game before their comeback effort fell just short.

The 49ers overwhelmingly relied on their running game, with Elijah Mitchell going for 96 yards and a touchdown and Deebo Samuel adding 72 yards and a score. The ground-and-pound strategy was similar to how Kyle Shanahan called games in the 2019 playoffs, when the 49ers reached the Super Bowl despite Garoppolo rarely dropping back to pass.

While some have wondered whether Lance's dual-threat dynamism would be better for San Francisco's offense, Shanahan has been Garoppolo's most strident defender. He told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated after Sunday's win:

"Jimmy's been unbelievable this year. And I really think when Jimmy's been healthy and he’s played, he's playing how he always has, which is more like a top quarterback. I think people are a little unfair with him, but Jimmy, he's the same guy regardless. I mean, I've known him for five years, and he's always the same guy, and the guys really fight for him."

Garoppolo is 33-14 as a starter in the regular season, and Sunday's win moved him to 3-1 all-time in the playoffs.