Deebo Samuel came to his quarterback's defense Thursday, telling critics of Jimmy Garoppolo to "check his win percentage."
The 49ers quarterback is 37-15 (including playoffs) as a starter during his career and is set lead San Francisco into the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years.
Looking purely at Garoppolo's win-loss record, Samuel is right. He ranks among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Only Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Roger Staubach and Lamar Jackson have a higher winning percentage than Garoppolo among quarterbacks with at least 50 starts.
Here is where we point out quarterback wins are a flawed—if not entirely useless—statistic. Garoppolo's 49ers teams have won on a semi-regular basis in spite of, rather than because of, his play on the field.
Since the beginning of the 2019 season, the 49ers have won 12 games where Garoppolo has thrown for under 200 yards, including all four of their playoff wins. Garoppolo has thrown for two touchdowns and five interceptions during his playoff career, with the 49ers overwhelmingly relying on their ground game and defense to advance.
Of the four quarterbacks remaining in these playoffs—Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Matthew Stafford and Garoppolo—the 49ers signal-caller would rank fourth, and there would be a seismic gap between him and third place.
It's worth pointing out the 49ers have been consistently worse when Garoppolo's been out of the lineup, and he's the best quarterback of the Kyle Shanahan era. That said, this is the same franchise that traded three first-round picks to grab Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in last April's draft. The skepticism about Garoppolo's status as a franchise changer is fair because it's clear the 49ers had it themselves.