CHICAGO -- Only one other time has Jimmy Garoppolo chucked the ball into the stands after a touchdown like he did on Sunday.
The other throw into the crowd occurred on December 29, 2019, when 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, clinching homefield advantage on their road to Super Bowl LIV. While this week’s celebration in the team’s 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears didn’t come at quite as big of a moment, it still was very meaningful to the quarterback.
After over a month of criticism, through a four-game losing streak, Jimmy Garoppolo’s triumphant return to his hometown removed the proverbial monkey off of his back, at least for now. The quarterback completed 17 of his 28 attempts for 322 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
After the game, the quarterback shared that he had about 100 friends and family in the stands, including college roommates and even his high school basketball coach. Not only was this game important to the quarterback, it was a must win for the team.
“Our team just needed a win,” Garoppolo said. “Losing four in a row like that, You got to do something about and out guys did. We came ready today and there was a good mindset and we could feel each other. When we are playing like that, that is when we get dangerous.”
The last time Garoppolo played at Soldier Field was his first game as the 49ers' starting quarterback on December 3, 2017. The Illinois native had just started to get to know Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but still managed to pull out a win, his first of five consecutive victories to close out the season.
“Seems like forever ago,” Garoppolo said. “Good memories here. Means a lot to come back to your home town. Your home city carries a little different feel to it, it really does. Landing at the airport, driving into the city, all of the familiarity. It’s a special feeling, it was a good day.”
The 49ers had a slower start to the day but once they went up tempo, they kept the ball moving. They racked up 467 total yards on offense and an average of 8.6 yards per play.
“It felt different out there today,” Garoppolo said. “We just got to keep this thing going. It’s hard to point to one thing in particular. Guys talking on the sideline, feeling each other, just getting on the same rhythm and page. That’s when we are at our best. Kyle was on fire with the play calling. It was just a perfect storm kind of thing.”
The 49ers now head back to the Bay Area to prepare to host the 7-1 Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium in Week 9.