49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo 'balling' to quiet critics, Jeff Garcia says

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo 'balling' to quiet critics, Jeff Garcia says

Jeff Garcia took the road less traveled to the NFL before finding himself atop 49ers record books. After going undrafted out of San Jose State University, the quarterback who was considered too small had to become a star in the Canadian Football League before getting a shot from the 49ers in 1999. 

Throughout his NFL career, Garcia dealt with the naysayers. He always found ways to quiet his critics, however, becoming a four-time Pro Bowl QB. Year later, he's watching Jimmy Garoppolo hush his haters while leading the 49ers. 

"I mean, you have three division leaders who you're going up against, and you're balling," Garcia said to NBC Sports Bay Area when asked about Garoppolo's performance in the 49ers' 48-46 win on Sunday over the Saints. "You're doing what you need to do to stay in the game, to give your team a chance to win the game.

"People who don't know the quarterback position are going to constantly question it."

The past three weeks, the 49ers have faced three division leaders in the Packers (NFC North), Ravens (AFC North) and Saints (NFC South). San Francisco went 2-1 in those three tough contests after Sunday's last-second win, and Garoppolo has continued to look impressive.

Sunday might have been Jimmy G's best game since the 49ers acquired him in 2017. He completed 26 of his 35 pass attempts for 349 yards, four touchdowns and one interception that bounced off wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' hands. The last three weeks, he has completed 72.4 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and one interception. 

"His overall play the last few weeks has been impressive," Garcia said. "I think he's really beginning to show a command of the offense -- excellent decision making, accuracy, getting the ball out on time, giving his players opportunities to make plays." 

Garcia says you can see Garoppolo's confidence growing as he grasps Kyle Shanahan's complex offense, and has a full, healthy season in the system. He also pointed to the 49ers now having a set trio of receivers with veteran Sanders, rookie Deebo Samuel and second-year pro Kendrick Bourne.

Having a star tight end like George Kittle doesn't hurt, too. 

Garoppolo joined Garcia and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks in 49ers history to have at least three games of four passing touchdowns in a single season, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Garcia last accomplished the feat in 2000, nearly two decades ago.

"They're really starting to gel from an offensive standpoint with what [Garoppolo's] doing at quarterback," Garcia said. "For me to be among those stat lines ... we were definitely clicking on all cylinders, and you can't do it alone. Obviously it's everybody standing up and doing their job. Offensive line doing a great job protection wise. You need everybody to step up when you have games like that, four-touchdown type games.

[RELATED: How 49ers' offense remained calm on game-winning drive]

"Everybody is stepping up and being a playmaker, and you're just giving them the opportunity to make a play." 

Garcia enjoyed his first Pro Bowl season 19 years ago when he became San Francisco's full-time starting QB. He was balling then, just like Jimmy G is now.

Tom Brady could replace Jimmy G if 49ers lose Super Bowl, Skip Bayless says

Tom Brady could replace Jimmy G if 49ers lose Super Bowl, Skip Bayless says

All season long, 49ers players have been trying to get the media to give Jimmy Garoppolo credit for their success.

Despite Garoppolo's record as a starting quarterback and regular-season stats, most in the national media see him as the 49ers' weak link heading into their Super Bowl LIV matchup against the Chiefs.

Then there's Skip Bayless, who took the Jimmy G bashing five levels too far.

"If Tom Brady were the quarterback of the 49ers going into this Super Bowl, they would be a five-point favorite instead of a one and a half point underdog," Bayless said on FS1's Undisputed on Monday. "You know it and I know it because what is the X-factor we are about to talk about for the next two weeks? What is the potential Achilles heel for the 49ers? Who is the guy that Kyle Shanahan will do his darndest to keep the ball out of his hands? It's Jimmy Garoppolo."

Yes, the 49ers are 1.5-point underdogs. But that's because of the Chiefs' high-powered offense. Garoppolo is 19-5 as a starter with San Francisco. He's thrown 44 touchdown passes in his career and has been intercepted just 21 times.

Garoppolo is not a top-tier quarterback, but he's not the 49ers' Achilles heel.

But wait, there's more.

"If Tom Brady were the quarterback, he would be so much more poised because Jimmy can go deer-in-headlights, he's much more accurate than Jimmy G is," Bayless continued. "He's just more trustworthy under fire especially in Super Bowls, which Tom Brady has mostly owned. He's 6-3 in Super Bowls and to me, he's not getting any older. You think he's done, he's over the hill, he's washed up."

Of course Brady is more trustworthy, Skip. He's in the conversation for best quarterback of all-time. Garoppolo has two career playoff starts.

Bayless saved his best hot take for last. Get ready for this one, 49ers fans.

"Here's my final takeaway," Bayless said. "If by chance, I'll knock on wood for the 49ers, if Jimmy G becomes the reason by far that they lose this Super Bowl, if he throws three picks and completely unravels and just looks awful in the face of Patrick Mahomes, I would not be shocked if John Lynch, the 49ers GM, if he doesn't in the offseason make a play for Tom Brady because it has been written several times that they could get out from under Jimmy G without any huge salary cap hit."

That's right. Skip Bayless just suggested that the 49ers would replace the 28-year-old Garoppolo with the 42-year-old Brady.

Bayless is off his rocker, but we already knew that.

[RELATED: Five 49ers-Chiefs matchups to watch]

There's no way the 49ers are moving on from Garoppolo this offseason, no matter what he does in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. He is the face of the franchise and under contract for three more seasons.

Garoppolo was supposed to replace Brady in New England. That didn't work out. Now, there's no chance Brady replaces Garoppolo in San Francisco.

Bay Area hoping San Francisco-Kansas City championship ends well again

Bay Area hoping San Francisco-Kansas City championship ends well again

Madison Bumgarner isn't walking through that door, but the San Francisco 49ers hope to replicate the success the Giants had in their championship matchup against a team from Kansas City.

Six years after the Giants outlasted the Royals in an epic seven-game World Series, the 49ers and Chiefs will clash in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2.

While 49ers fans are hoping for the same result, we're sure they are hoping the ending isn't as dramatic.

On Oct. 29, 2014, Bumgarner authored one of the most memorable playoff performances when he pitched five innings out of the bullpen in Game 7 just three days after tossing a four-hit shutout in Game 5.

Bumgarner preserved the one-run lead and World Series crown despite allowing the tying run to reach third base on a single and two-base error.

A little less drama would be perfectly fine for 49ers fans. But that outcome will be tough for Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. considering the firepower the Chiefs possess.

Patrick Mahomes won the MVP last season, Travis Kelce is a two-time All-Pro tight end and Tyreek Hill is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL.

But if there is one defense that can slow down Mahomes and the Chiefs, it's the 49ers. Anchored by a tenacious front seven, the 49ers have one of the stingiest defenses in the league.

[RELATED: Montana's two teams facing each other]

Among the playoff teams that have played at least two games, the 49ers have allowed the fewest total yards (505) and points (30).

SF vs. KC: Part 2 is setting up to be a classic, one San Francisco is hoping goes their way again.