Jimmy Garoppolo has taken some heat for his performance in the San Francisco 49ers' 31-20 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, but head coach Kyle Shanahan is backing his man, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic:
Garoppolo finished the game 20-of-31 for 219 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. One of the enduring memories from the game, however, will be Garoppolo missing a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders deep down the field late in the game, a play that would have given the Niners the lead with a little under two minutes remaining.
Instead, the Niners turned the ball over on downs the next play and Damien Williams ran for a 38-yard touchdown two plays later, all but ending the game. Garoppolo ended any doubt on the Niners' next possession, throwing an interception.
Garoppolo, 28, is not one of the league's elite quarterbacks. But he had a solid 2019 campaign, throwing for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 69.1 percent of his passes.
Yes, San Francisco's defense and run game vaulted them to a 13-3 record and a place in the Super Bowl more so than Garoppolo. In the NFC Championship Game, he only threw the ball eight times, as the Niners ran for 285 yards in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers.
But San Francisco was also just 4-12 last year, with Garoppolo playing in only three games before his season ended due to a torn ACL. In his time as the 49ers starting quarterback, however, the team is an impressive 19-6.
Wins may not be a quarterback stat, but it's hard to ignore that the Niners went 5-1 down the stretch after acquiring him in 2017 and making him the starter. Or that a year removed from winning just four games, with Garoppolo missing most of the season, they went to the Super Bowl with him fully healthy.
"For him to be like that and not let the pressure get to him and improve as the year went says a ton about Jimmy," Shanahan said, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. "I can't tell you how much I love coaching the guy as a player and a person."