49ers

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo 'got some heat' from The Faithful

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AP

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo 'got some heat' from The Faithful

SANTA CLARA -- One of the big obstacles that kept Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined for his first three games with the 49ers was adapting to his new team’s terminology.

Learning the language of Kyle Shanahan’s playbook was one thing. Learning how to properly address the 49ers’ fan base provided another learning moment this week.

Garoppolo will make his first start at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. After back-to-back road victories at Chicago and Houston, Garoppolo said he is looking forward to playing in front of his home fans.

“It’ll be fun,” Garoppolo said. “Our home fans -- ‘The Faithful,’ I found out, got some heat for that, for saying, ‘49ers Nation.’ But, ‘The Faithful,’ they’re an awesome fan base. It’ll be fun to get in front of them this Sunday.”

Garoppolo said he received some feedback this week from a friend who was monitoring Garoppolo’s mentions on social media after the 49ers' victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Garoppolo referred to the overwhelming support the team received at NRG Stadium in their 26-16 victory.

"I mean, 49ers Nation, I said it in the locker room before it was loud out there," Garoppolo said on Sunday. "There were a couple of 49ers chants that you heard. I was shocked this being the first time I’ve really seen that. It’s impressive how well they travel. That just makes it great and gives up that much more energy on the sideline.”

The reaction was swift, and Garoppolo set out to correct his error Wednesday during his next appearance in front of the media.

“My friend sent me a couple of tweet reactions,” Garoppolo said. “They didn’t get on me, it was in a good way. I don’t know who they were specifically. My friends in a group text all texted me like, ‘Man you’ve got to get this right. Come on, these are your fans now.’ So it was just a little funny thing.”

49ers take on role of spoiler down the stretch

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AP

49ers take on role of spoiler down the stretch

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers’ three victories over their past four games have come against teams in the bottom quarter of the league.

The competition gets a lot more challenging for Jimmy Garoppolo and Co., as the 49ers close out the season against three teams currently jockeying for playoff positioning.

First up, the Tennessee Titans, who come to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday as the current No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs with an 8-5 record. After back-to-back road victories, the 49ers can finish the season with some momentum against teams that are playing for their postseason lives.

“I think getting these last two have been big for us,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We got close in a number (of games) early in the year and then came up short, which I think got real frustrating. We hit a lull with that and with the little bit of injuries in the same span.

“Then, I thought we rebounded where it started versus the Giants, then had a setback versus Seattle and then played better versus Chicago and that led to us playing better last week versus Houston. I hope that continues to lead us into playing better this week. The more you win, that’s how you develop real confidence and the more you win players believe truly that they have a chance to win instead of just hoping. The more that happens, the easier it gets.”

Garoppolo will face his biggest tests since arriving on the scene with the 49ers. His 624 yards passing the past two games are the most in franchise history for a player making his first two starts.

But after facing the Titans (8-5), the 49ers conclude the season against Jacksonville (9-4) and the Los Angeles Rams (9-4).

“We have a little bit of momentum with us right now,” Garoppolo said, adding that the 49ers first must concentrate on putting together good practices.

“I think that’s what’s really helped us these last two weeks is we’re putting in the time, practice has been good tempo and everything and I think that carries over to Sunday.”

After facing Tennessee, which as the league’s No. 18 pass defense, the 49ers face the best pass defense in the league when the Jaguars come to Levi’s Stadium on Christmas Eve.

Jeff Garcia pinpoints Jimmy Garoppolo's elite skills

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AP

Jeff Garcia pinpoints Jimmy Garoppolo's elite skills

Among quarterbacks who have dropped back more than once this season, Jimmy Garoppolo ranks first in the NFL with a 9.0-yard-average per pass attempt.

The 49ers (3-10) have won both of Garoppolo’s starts, and his 627 yards passing in those two games are the most for a player in franchise history in his first two starts.

The 49ers’ last Pro Bowl quarterback, Jeff Garcia, discussed the elite skills he has witnessed from Garoppolo in his short time in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

“First of all, he has eliminated mistakes,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “You see the way the offense has been able to put drives together to get into the red zone. Now, they haven’t all led to touchdowns, but he’s been a great decision-maker.”

The 49ers settled for five field goals in a 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. On Sunday, the 49ers scored on five consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters in a 26-16 win over the Houston Texans.

“He’s been very accurate with his throws,” Garcia said. “You see when he completes balls, the receivers are in a position to continue running for yards after the catch. The balls aren’t thrown behind. They’re not low. The receivers don’t have to leave their feet for many of the throws. That is key to turning what could end up being fourth downs into first downs.”

Garoppolo has completed 48 of 72 pass attempts (66.7 percent) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is 92.7. 

“His timing -- he’s getting the ball out on time,” Garcia said. “Even when he has a free rusher coming off the edge, which happened a couple of times with (Jadeveon) Clowney, he’s able to step in there and throw an accurate ball and make a play. Those things hadn’t been done prior to his existence on the team.”