The Jacksonville Jaguars departed Levi’s Stadium on Sunday evening with their envisioned AFC South championship.
But there was no celebrating in the visiting-team's locker room.
The playoff-bound Jaguars (10-5) had already clinched the division title with the Tennessee Titans’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams in a game that concluded as the game in Santa Clara kicked off.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers ruined the Jaguars’ planned post-game celebration – as well as their hope for securing the top seed in the AFC playoffs – with a 44-33 victory.
“It was definitely irritating to hear about him all week,” Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack said of Garoppolo, reported the Bay Area News Group.
“He knocked out the No. 1 defense in the country. He did his thing. I guess I have to give him credit. Honestly, he deserves all the credit.”
Garoppolo completed 21 of 30 pass attempts for 242 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. The 49ers’ current four-game win streak coincides with Garoppolo’s elevation into the 49ers' starting lineup.
“I’ve just watched the games with Jimmy Garoppolo playing,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “I thought they did a great job, and I thought the defense was starting to jell. They’re doing a nice job communication-wise, and special teams is playing well. I saw a team that is really a strong football team. Obviously, they got after us. I have a lot of respect for them. They did a good job.”
Garoppolo’s 102.4 passer rating was the best against the Jaguars this season. No other quarterback has rated higher than an 87.0 against Jacksonville.
“He’s very good for their system,” Jaguars Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “They found the right quarterback to go with their system. They played a good game, they had a good game plan and they executed. That’s what it boils down to. They executed their game plan better than we did.”
Jacksonville entered the game with an NFL-leading 51 sacks. That unit managed to drop Garoppolo for just one sack, totaling minus-4 yards. The 49ers used a variety of multi-receiver sets and route combinations to dictate the matchups the 49ers wanted to exploit.
Wide receivers Marquise Goodwin, Louis Murphy, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Aldrick Robinson each played at least 25 percent of the team’s snaps.
“They did some things we hadn’t seen on tape,” Jacksonville defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “That’s good ball. We made our adjustments, but at the end of the day we made too many mistakes and that’ll beat you every time.”