GREEN BAY, Wisc. — After the 49ers' 13-10 win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field Saturday night, Jimmy Garoppolo might deserve more credit.
Throughout the entire 2021 season, Garoppolo had been in the line of fire from those outside of the 49ers' building. Tight end George Kittle believes the negative attention is misplaced and that the quarterback is more a reason for the team winning than people think.
"Jimmy G. I mean, you can’t say enough about that guy,” Kittle said. “The sh— that he takes, excuse my language, people consistently try to pull him down and all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team and he is the sense of calm in the huddle, he is the sense of calm in the storm and he allows us to play at a high level.”
Garoppolo finished the night completing 11-of-19 attempts for 131 yards and an interception, but an argument could be made that the numbers actually do lie this time.
On the 49ers' third drive of the game, Garoppolo saw the All-Pro open down the middle of the field and threw deep. Kittle was unable to hold onto a pass that likely would have been a touchdown. If the two had connected, the quarterback’s stats would be quite different.
Kittle wasn't the only one, either. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, running back Elijah Mitchell and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk all dropped passes early in the game. The tight end made up for the early gaffe, finishing the night as Garoppolo’s top target, catching four of six passes thrown his direction for 63 yards. That included a 24-yard completion that was the 49ers' longest play of the game.
Kyle Shanahan was impressed with how his quarterback played, especially considering the frigid conditions at Lambeau and Garoppolo’s injuries to his throwing thumb and throwing shoulder.
“I thought Jimmy battled,” Shanahan said. “I know he had that bad pick, which was unfortunate. That wasn’t a good play, but some of the plays Jimmy made in the first half, I mean that throw to Kittle was going to be a touchdown and Kittle missed that.
“I thought Jimmy made some really good plays in this game. I don’t think people understand what that is kind of like out there, but I was happy with everybody.”
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Garoppolo’s leadership is not just felt by the offense. Defensive end Nick Bosa believes the quarterback deserves much more credit than he gets for bringing the team to where they are now.
"Honestly I’m impressed with his demeanor as a leader,” Bosa told reporters after the game. “A lot of people give him crap for whatever but he’s as cool and collected as a quarterback that I’ve ever had and he is the perfect guy to lead us to where we need to go.”
The 49ers will have more ideal conditions next week when they play either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.