“Yeah, it’s good to get hit, I guess,” Garoppolo said after the team’s Week 2 victory in Cincinnati. “It sounds weird to say, but yeah.”
The Steelers defense got through the Joe Staley-less offensive line Sunday to hit Garoppolo eight times and sack him once for nine yards. Garoppolo might have had his most impressive show of pocket presence in his career. He even made several completions as he was being hit, or with defenders in his face.
Garoppolo finished the day completing 23 of his 32 pass attempts for 277 yards. He threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions, giving him a 82.4 rating.
After the game cornerback Richard Sherman joked about Garoppolo’s affinity for getting hit.
“He loves it,” Sherman said with a laugh. “He loves it. He was strong. He was persevering. He likes getting hit, I don’t know why. You know, not every quarterback likes it. It kind of wakes him up and I think it didn’t bother him throughout the game.
“Obviously he stayed poised especially on the game-winning drive, game-winning touchdown.”
When asked if Sheman’s statement actually rang true, Garoppolo confirmed with a little chuckle it that did.
“I’ve been told that before,” Garoppolo said. “Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just a football player and it’s part of the game. Take it as you go I guess.”
Garoppolo’s perfomance under pressure from the Steelers defense shows a marked improvement from his first preseason outing where he seemed to be avoiding contact at all costs. Garoppolo admitted that his surgically repaired knee affected his play at the time.
“I think back in OTAs and everything it was effecting me but now, I haven’t had any issues with it,” Garoppolo said.
Coach Kyle Shananan was pleased with his quarterback’s performance noting that Garoppolo played under pressure much of the game. Shanahan also was impressed with Garoppolo’s ability to move forward from the turnovers.
“I thought Jimmy played well,” Shanahan said. “He was put in some tough situations with all the turnovers. I think he had two picks, but they seemed like pretty good throws. Just went off those guys hands a little bit. He hung in there, took some big hits, made some big throws and when we did give him the time, he didn’t miss much.”
Like Sherman, Shahanan thinks a little bit of physicality has done Garoppolo some good. The past two games have really boosted the quarterback’s confidence.
“I think it’s huge, always for a quarterback and anyone,” Shanahan said. “With him coming off the ACL, it’s been longer. You don’t hit guys in practice, so you’re going to get in the games, and I think sometimes the more Jimmy gets hit, the better he does. He responded to it well and played very tough.”
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After all of the take downs, Garoppolo reports that he is still feeling healthy. There might, however, be one variable in play for how he feels.
“Feeling awesome, we got the win man,” Garoppolo said. “Whenever you get the win, you feel good.”