Richard Sherman Backs Jimmy Garoppolo: 'Foolish' Criticism Is 'Barbershop Talk'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 20: Richard Sherman #25 and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers talk in the locker room prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 20, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. The 49ers defeated the Redskins 9-0. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said the Niners defense, not quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, deserves the blame for the team's 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

Sherman discussed the situation Wednesday on KNBR Radio (via Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee).

"It's just barbershop talk. It's just something to have a topic. It's just foolish," he said about the Garoppolo criticism. "... When you hear them blaming Jimmy, Jimmy doesn't play defense. We had a 10-point lead. We get the guy a stop, we win the game."

San Francisco took a 20-10 lead with 2:35 left in the third quarter courtesy of a Raheem Mostert touchdown run, and the 49ers maintained that advantage through more than half of the fourth quarter.

Kansas City scored 21 points in the game's final 6:13, however, as the Niners collapsed on both sides of the ball.

While the defense allowed three straight touchdown drives, the offense's final four possessions ended with two punts, a turnover on downs and an interception.

"As an offense, as a team, we've been in that situation multiple times and answered the bell," Garoppolo told reporters after the loss. "It's tough that one time you didn't. But that's what people remember. That's the world we live in, and you just have to own up to it and be a man about it. It will fuel us in this offseason, fuel me especially in this offseason, to come back better."

Garoppolo enjoyed a strong regular season for the 49ers in 2019, completing 69.1 percent of his throws for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 16 games. He ranked eighth in passer rating (102.0) and 12th in ESPN's Total QBR (58.8).

The 49ers changed their approach to become more run-centric in the playoffs, though. After attempting 29.75 passes per game during the regular season, the 28-year-old Illinois native threw just 27 times combined in postseason wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.

Garoppolo had 31 attempts in the Super Bowl, and nine of those came after the Chiefs started to mount their comeback late in the fourth quarter.

The lack of reliance on the passing attack raised questions about whether San Francisco lost confidence in its quarterback, but the Niners made no significant changes at the position in the offseason.