For most of the season, Jimmy Garoppolo's teammates have been demanding the 49ers quarterback get some respect.
Each time Garoppolo made winning plays in crunch time, his teammates took to defending him, wondering when No. 10 would get the credit he deserves.
Richard Sherman slammed critics of Garoppolo after the 49ers' thrashed the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. Nick Bosa and George Kittle were the latest to join the public outcry after the 49ers' 27-10 NFC divisional-round win over the Minnesota Vikings.
So, why doesn't Jimmy G get the love his teammates think he's earned? Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders has an idea.
"I think from that standpoint, I think from a team perspective, we have so many great pieces," Sanders told the media Wednesday. "When you talk about the defensive line, when you talk about the secondary, when you talk about the linebackers, we got depth. When you talk about the running game that we have, when you talk about the passing game, it’s hard to target one player and say, ‘Oh, he is the reason why they are winning,” and I think that that’s the reason why they don’t give Jimmy all the credit because they are saying, ‘Oh, he’s not the absolute reason why they are winning.’
"We have so many different ways that we can win, but at the end of the day, where they can’t say that he isn’t, is because he’s won, he’s a winner. The games that we weren’t running the ball where we had 34 yards, you’ll see Jimmy go out and throw five touchdown passes and 400 yards. So, I love that, that aspect that we can run the ball and pass the ball. So that’s kind of why he’s not getting that credit, but he is a baller and I’m happy he’s my quarterback for sure.”
Garoppolo will have another test to pass Sunday when the 49ers face the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. In order for the scarlet and gold to advance to Super Bowl LIV, Jimmy G will have to be on his A-game as it is unlikely the 49ers will be able to run the ball as effectively as they did against the Vikings in the divisional round.
Should Garoppolo play well and lead the Niners to Miami, expect him to start getting a lot of credit during the two-week break between Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)
Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.