The 49ers never had a quarterback controversy this season. Coach Kyle Shanahan still had to shut the topic down this week nonetheless, with a full affirmation that Jimmy Garoppolo is his guy. That’s because Nick Mullens doesn’t suck and stands tall among the NFL’s best backup quarterbacks.
Key phrase: Backup quarterbacks.
Until, of course, he got benched Sunday.
Sunday night’s 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium was a reminder of how good the 49ers have it, with Mullens turning in a good-turned-freaking-awful performance that makes you long for the real deal. Despite all the flak he takes from a vocal minority currently reading and internally deriding this story, that’s Garoppolo.
And they all know it.
Jimmy G isn’t just the best you’ve got. He’s an efficient producer most would kill for. Just ask the New York Jets or New York Giants or even the Eagles, paying a ton for a just so-so signal caller. I mean, come on. They would trade first-borns for your guy.
Bottom line: Mullens won a game this season and then lost another. He was admirable for a while and eventually replaced, a sign the 49ers got beat by a far inferior team. Shanahan must’ve flipped his custom-made 49ers lid after a result that should make many realize Garoppolo’s immense value.
The lay-up Miami Dolphins come up next, but there are some good teams ahead the 49ers will need Garoppolo to beat. Pray to Sourdough Sam he’ll be ready then.
A backup quarterback is that high-school crush you always longed for but never asked out. They're probably awesome, but never as compatible with you as your partner.
We saw that sad, middle-aged fantasy get quashed before our eyes Sunday night. Hopefully it’s gone for good.
Garoppolo has a high ankle sprain. Those ailments don’t heal quickly. Maybe four-to-six weeks from start to finish. The 49ers need that joint ready in a snap, especially in a talented NFC West.
Maybe you’ll cheer harder for him next time after taking him for granted. Maybe not. It’s not up to us whether you choose to slap $200 on an authentic Garoppolo jersey in homage to a quarterback that can get you to a freaking Super Bowl.
Or maybe you’re still bitter over that overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders in Miami, which is your right. I was there. It was an air mail at best, un-Montana-like to be sure. But the guy can play quarterback. He can expertly operate Shanahan’s AP calculus-level system, and that ain’t nothin’.
So, pretty please, when you leave this page -- honestly, though, we’d prefer you click on one of our other fine links instead -- and head to the message board three beers deep with a brain full of rage over what you saw tonight against a terrible Eagles team that is bonafide awful with a capital ‘A’, think of how Garoppolo would’ve managed this game and whether the result would’ve been different.
I can assure you, dear friends, that it would not have been the same. Is this the time to recall Garoppolo's 20-6 (and 3-1 in the playoffs) record as a 49er? I’m just never sure when to throw that figure out. Somebody might hex me from a Joe Montana shrine.
Look. Jimmy G isn’t Joe or even Steve Young on a cloudy day. But he is a damn good quarterback capable of taking a proud fan base to the highest heights with a stockpile of talent around him. That’s what he has now, even with this insane injury situation. Don’t forget that.
Cross your fingers Garoppolo heals fast and then faster. If Sunday’s result was finally the wake-up call everyone needs to realize Jimmy’s legit, then so be it.