SANTA CLARA — It was a scary moment when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo appeared to be injured in the third quarter of the 49ers' 13-0 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Garoppolo was tackled low by Saints defensive lineman Malcolm Roach. The broadcast showed a slow-motion replay of Garoppolo screaming in pain as he landed on the grass. Roach was called for roughing the passer, but that wasn’t the only hit that the veteran quarterback experienced during the win.
While there seems to be a certain echelon of quarterbacks that are the beneficiaries of opposing defenses getting called for roughing, Garoppolo clearly is not one of them. Nevertheless, the 49ers' quarterback was politically correct as possible after the game.
Garoppolo put the onus on his fellow NFL players to take care of each other as much as possible.
“It is football but, we've got to be smart as players, look out for one another,” Garoppolo said. “There’s no place for that. I’m alright. A little sore, but nothing bad. As players, we need to be smart for one another.”
Immediately after the play, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called for backup quarterback Brock Purdy to start warming up. It appeared that the rookie could be headed into the game, but Garoppolo toughed it out.
“I was staying in the game,” Garoppolo said. “I knew what type of game it was. That’s what it was all day. That wasn’t the only hit that was questionable like that. Throughout the whole game it was like that, but that’s football. It was a gritty game.”
It wasn’t a particularly pretty win, but the 49ers' offense did enough to get the job done. Along with Garoppolo getting nicked up in the game, preliminary tests show running back Elijah Mitchell sustained an MCL strain, and offensive lineman Spencer Burford injured his ankle.
Garoppolo still completed 26 of his 37 attempts for 222 yards and one touchdown. The run game was not as effective as it was six days ago in Mexico City, with the 49ers gaining 96 yards on 29 carries, an average of 3.3 yards per attempt.
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Still, it was enough to notch four straight wins and put the 49ers at the top of the NFC West.
“I’m proud of the guys today how they fought through all the adversity that was thrown at us," Garoppolo said. "It was all types and we just kept going, man. It was a good win for us.”