General manager John Lynch has no doubt about Jimmy Garoppolo’s ability to win games for the 49ers because he has already witnessed it in a variety of ways.
“We saw it the first year,” Lynch said on 49ers Game Plan. “He can put a team on his back, and he can go throw for a lot of passing yards.”
Garoppolo averaged nearly 310 yards passing per game at the end of the 2017 season, when the 49ers won each of the five games he started to earn a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension.
The 49ers are 13-2 in Garoppolo's starts with the 49ers over three seasons. In the other games during that time in which Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens were the starters, the 49ers were 4-20.
“I think the formula that we’ve been playing with, which is running the ball a lot and running it very effectively and sticking with it even when we haven’t had those huge games, in terms of the effectiveness running the ball, is working for us,” Lynch said. “And I think the best compliment I can pay to Jimmy is, he doesn’t care. He wants to win football games.”
Garoppolo was asked on Wednesday about most of the credit for the team’s success going to the defense and the running game while opening the season with seven consecutive victories.
Is he OK with that?
“I’m all right with being undefeated, yeah,” Garoppolo answered.
Garoppolo leads the NFL with 52.9 (27 of 51) of his third-down pass attempts gaining enough yardage for first downs. In one of the few tight games the 49ers have played this season, Garoppolo squeezed a game-winning 5-yard touchdown pass into Dante Pettis with 1:15 remaining for a 24-20 victory.
Lynch said he believes new wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will provide assistance to Garoppolo in the passing game with another reliable target.
“What Emmanuel’s role can be is just what it was the other day, helping us move the chains,” Lynch said. “Because to get 38 rushes, you have to convert on third down. He’s been one of the best third-down passers in football this year. I think that’s the money down in this league.”
[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo-George Kittle connection stronger than ever for 49ers]
Garoppolo is coming off a game against the Panthers in a 51-13 victory in which he completed 18 of 22 attempts for 175 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, as Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly made a play in coverage against tight end George Kittle.
Garoppolo’s 93.5 passer rating is on pace for the 49ers’ best single-season mark for a quarterback making 10 or more starts since Jeff Garcia posted a 94.8 in 2001.
“I thought the other day, Jimmy had a near-flawless effort,” Lynch said. “He had the interception to Kuechly is one that he wishes he had back. But that’s what great players do. They make you pay. Other than that, he took what was there and played at an incredibly high level. We’re fortunate to have him.”