Jimmy Garoppolo Throws 3 TDs as 49ers Defeat Jared Goff, Rams

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2020

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

On the heels of a surprising blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins last week, the San Francisco 49ers scored a much-needed win Sunday night, as they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 24-16 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Niners put themselves back in the thick of things in the NFC playoff race with the win, as they improved to 3-3, while the Rams fell to 4-2 and now trail the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks by 1.5 games.

After a poor showing last week that resulted in him getting pulled from the game, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo bounced back in a big way Sunday and thrived thanks to an offensive game plan that focused on high-percentage throws.

San Francisco dominated the game in most areas, as it outgained L.A. 390-311, won the time-of-possession battle 37:55-22:05 and had more first downs by a 24-17 margin.


Notable Stats

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF: 23/33 for 268 YDS, 3 TD, 0 INT

Raheem Mostert, RB, SF: 17 CAR for 65 YDS; 2 REC for 11 YDS (Left game—ankle)

Deebo Samuel, WR, SF: 6 REC for 66 YDS, 1 TD

George Kittle, TE, SF: 7 REC for 109 YDS, 1 TD

Jared Goff, QB, LAR: 19/38 for 198 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, LAR: 14 CAR for 88 YDS

Robert Woods, WR, LAR: 4 REC for 29 YDS, 1 TD; 2 CAR for 11 YDS

Josh Reynolds, WR, LAR: 2 REC for 49 YDS, 1 TD


Garoppolo Carves Up Rams on High-Percentage Throws

Jimmy G was under the microscope entering Sunday's game after what happened last week against the Dolphins, but he was up to the task and rose to the occasion on the Sunday Night Football stage.

Garoppolo wasn't himself last week against Miami, as the ankle injury he suffered a few weeks earlier clearly impacted his ability to push off on his throws and prompted head coach Kyle Shanahan to remove him from the game.

This week was a different story, as Garoppolo was primarily tasked with making short throws and letting his playmakers do the rest of the work.

That was on full display on the opening drive of the game, which ended in a six-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Deebo Samuel, although it was more of a glorified run on a jet sweep:

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

Opening drive SCORE! @19problemz with the TD 👀 Watch #LARvsSF https://t.co/3Kcp0mghy0 https://t.co/Yt8aZT2TWc

Per Next Gen Stats, Garoppolo didn't throw a single pass beyond the line of scrimmage on the first drive:

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

The 49ers gained 88 yards after catch on their 76-yard opening drive. Jimmy Garoppolo averaged -4.9 air yards per attempt, with all four of his passes targeting a receiver behind the LOS. #LARvsSF | #FTTB

Josh Dubow of the Associated Press put the drive further into perspective:

Josh Dubow @JoshDubowAP

That's the fewest air yards on a TD drive in at least 10 years per @sportradar. Previous low was -15 for Seahawks vs Panthers last season

Garoppolo continued to rely on short throws throughout the first half, although he deserved plenty of credit for a 44-yard touchdown pass he threw to tight end George Kittle to help extend the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter:

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

Whoomp, there it is! @JimmyG_10 connects with @gkittle46 for the TD! #LARvsSF📱https://t.co/3Kcp0mghy0 https://t.co/O5wNOwygR8

Kittle did plenty of run-after-the-catch work on the play, but Jimmy G showed plenty of poise by putting the ball right where it needed to be on 4th-and-2.

Garoppolo threw his third touchdown pass of the half with less than two minutes remaining when he found rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk on 3rd-and-goal to help give San Francisco a 15-point lead entering the break:

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

Jump Around @THE2ERA! 👏 Watch #LARvsSF https://t.co/3Kcp0mghy0 https://t.co/h83chttfyl

Jimmy G and the Niners offense could only muster three points in the second half, but with the San Francisco defense mostly holding the Rams in check, it was enough to cement the win.

Garoppolo will undoubtedly look to play a more complete game next week, but he took a huge step in the right direction Sunday.


Goff Struggles Mightily in Poor Offensive Showing

While Garoppolo turned in perhaps his best performance of the 2020 season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff unquestionably had his worst showing.

The Rams were unable to move the ball with any type of consistency throughout the game, and Goff completed a mere 50 percent of his passes in the loss.

Cameron DaSilva of USA Today summed up Goff's struggles well:

Cameron DaSilva @camdasilva

Goff has been, let’s call it, not sharp tonight. Dull, even.

One of the biggest issues for Goff on Sunday night was the fact that he seemingly couldn't get on the same page with slot receiver Cooper Kupp, who is usually one of his most-trusted targets.

DaSilva highlighted a miscommunication between Goff and Kupp on a deep pass that could have gone for a touchdown and changed the complexion of the game:

Cameron DaSilva @camdasilva

Idk who you blame on this one. Looks like Kupp was expecting the pass right on the hash, but Goff led him to his left. Either way, missed opportunity. https://t.co/1KQ7mvBEhm

After running back Darrell Henderson Jr. ran hard and helped get the Rams in scoring position in the third quarter, Goff hit Kupp right in the hands on a 3rd-and-goal situation, but Kupp dropped it.

Goff was then intercepted by Jason Verrett in the end zone on an ill-advised throw on the next play, and the Rams came away with no points:


This end zone INT 👀 #FTTB 📺: #LARvsSF on NBC 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/eU4vXTG8PW https://t.co/KJ5MiHKdNd

Will Brinson of CBS Sports explained the turn of events:

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

Goff's throw to Kupp on 3rd down was as good as Goff's throw on 4th down was bad.

Goff finally broke through with 3:24 remaining in regulation when he threw a deep ball to Josh Reynolds, who fought through pass interference to catch a 40-yard touchdown:


.@JaredGoff16 goes DEEP for Josh Reynolds to pull within 8! #RamsHouse 📺: #LARvsSF on NBC 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/eU4vXTG8PW https://t.co/d3WwZm6oXP

That helped the Rams pull to within eight and made Goff's stat line look better, but L.A. was unable to complete the comeback.

Had Goff and the Rams offense found their rhythm earlier in the game, perhaps it could have been a different result for head coach Sean McVay's team.


What's Next?

The 49ers will look to push their record above .500 on Oct. 25 when they face a New England Patriots team that will be desperate for a win after losing to the Denver Broncos this week.

Meanwhile, the Rams will attempt to get back on track against the one-loss Chicago Bears, who they will host on Monday Night Football on Oct 26.


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