Jimmy Garoppolo was good in 2019 but not good enough. He knows that.
Jimmy Garoppolo had been to the Super Bowl twice prior to being traded to the 49ers in 2017, but it was as a backup for the Patriots.
He got his 49ers to the big game this past season and did so after having a pretty impressive season. He had a small sample size as the Niners quarterback in 2017 and 2018, but 2019 saw him start all 16 regular-season games and every playoff game.
Garoppolo was good in 2019, throwing 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns with 13 picks. He added a rushing touchdown to his 2019 resumé as well.
Despite the impressive season, Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t make the big play when he needed it most
After the Kansas City Chiefs had taken the lead with 2:44 to go in Super Bowl LIV, it was all on Garoppolo to get the Niners down the field and into the end zone. They had plenty of time to do it and he had moved them down to the Chiefs side of the field.
The big play that 49ers fans will be kicking themselves over for years and years if the team doesn’t win a Super Bowl is when Garoppolo had Emmanuel Sanders open down the field, but overshot him. If he puts that ball in the right place, Sanders has an easy walk-in touchdown and the Niners take the lead with 1:40 remaining in the game.
Now of course, who knows what happens with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at that point, but that Niners defense would have been all over trying to sack him and get their squad the win. Garoppolo’s missed throw defined his season, but he knows he needs to be better in 2020 and beyond.
“Having my first full season under my belt, coming off the ACL and everything that went into that season, it will only help me going forward,” Garoppolo said on a video call with Bay Area reporters, via Pro Football Talk. “I think in terms of being a quarterback, I still have a long way to go. I’m still relatively young for a quarterback, just in terms of playing time.
“As a quarterback, you got to get out there and get the reps, play, get in the live-action like that. I think having a full season under my belt will help me going forward.”
The 49ers won just four games in 2018 while Garoppolo rehabbed from a torn ACL. His return, paired with their smothering defense, helped get them the top seed in the NFC playoffs, which played a huge role in them getting to the Super Bowl.
Garoppolo knows he had a good, promising year, but there’s room for his game to reach the next level.
“The thing I always take pride in is being an accurate quarterback,” Garoppolo said. “The more accurate you are, the more yards after the catch your guys can go get for you. So in our offense, it’s putting the ball in the right spot, putting it in the right timing of the play and it’s little things like that that go a long way in our offense.
“I was pretty happy with everything, how it went. Like I said, we just want the last game of the season to turn out a little differently.”
This is the type of determination and humility that should push Garoppolo to post even better numbers in 2020 and beyond.
Garoppolo might not have made that throw to Sanders in the Super Bowl, but he’ll remember that missed throw and it’ll be a mistake he’ll learn from for the future.