Monday, 11 December, 2017

Kyle Shanahan on Jimmy Garoppolo's debut: 'It was pretty impressive'

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Santa Clara Calif. The way Garoppolo plays down the stretch once he finally takes over as the San Francisco 49ers vs Chicago Bears: Live updates, score, TV channel, watch online
Spencer Simpson | 05 December, 2017, 02:11

The snowball effect from that one statistic was enormous, even if it didn't show up on the scoreboard. That's when Fox used his final time out, meaning that all the 49ers had to do was kneel on second and third down to run out the clock and kick what was essentially a college extra point for the win. The defense would get exhausted in the fourth quarter, allowing the other team to score enough to win the game.

But it was clear Sunday that Garoppolo, who is in his fourth season, is the better, savvier passer now, or at least was better Sunday. In his first full game in a 49ers uniform and his first in his native Chicago since he was a college sophomore, Jimmy Garoppolo looked like he belonged in the lead role. Below is a list of reps for each player, broken down by phase of the game.

Garoppolo completed 26 of 37 for 293 yards, the most ever by a 49ers signal caller in his first start, while orchestrating one of the offense's most efficient days of the season. "It was fun to watch him do some real good things and it was real fun to watch him lead us to a win". Garoppolo's insertion was a breath of fresh air for a 49ers offense that has struggled in the passing game all year. However, Garoppolo will be a free agent next spring, and while the Niners will have the chance to use the franchise tag to retain him if the two sides can't agree on a contract, there's a chance the young QB could be little more than a rental.

The defense forced five punts and held the Bears to some very average numbers, including 62 rushing yards. "But in that case, just like my coaches always tell me, trust my speed, just go with the plan and get back left". That was at Candlestick Park on Monday Night Football against Chicago, in fact.

The Bears capitalized on the turnover as Trubisky capped an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a TD strike to Inman streaking across the back of the end zone. The Bears were among the top 10 defenses in the league in generating pressure and the 49ers were banged up on the offensive line. It was his second career game. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen was back to return the punt and everything got insane from there.

Placekicker Robbie Gould made all five of FG attempts, although none was longer than 35 yards-which emphasizes how close the 49ers were to blowing out the Bears here. Tarik Cohen added a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown. "I get butterflies before every game", admitted Garoppolo.

Garoppolo hit several critical throws in his 49ers starting debut. Bears LB Danny Trevathan returned to action after missing the previous three games because of a calf injury. With a more balanced offense, the 49ers should be able to move the ball on most teams, although Houston remains strong defensively despite the absence of J.J. Watt.

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