SEATTLE — Jimmy Garoppolo quietly put together one of the best regular seasons by a 49ers quarterback in decades, but his humble persona might be his most important trait.
A victorious Garoppolo walked out of CenturyLink Field having completed 18 of his 22 attempts for 285 yards and a passer rating of 118.8. His 81.82 completion percentage matches his highest of the season from Week 7 against the Panthers.
When being asked if he felt his performance in Seattle was the best of the season, Garoppolo immediately focused on how he could have played better.
“I think I have some room for improvement,” Garoppolo said. “Go back and watch the film, some throws, I missed Emmanuel [Sanders] one a pretty easy one. Missed a couple early, but for the most part I thought our offense played great tonight.”
For most of the locker room it was a challenging first two seasons under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. Those tough times might have been the preparation this group needed to get through the last five games, all of which were decided in the final moments of regulation.
“It’s just that we are resilient,” Garoppolo said. “I think over the last two years if we were put in this situation it wouldn’t always turn out the best for us. I think this year, we’ve had a couple tough ones but for the majority of them, just guys mentally tough, sticking with it the whole time. It’s really paid off for us.”
Shanahan praised his quarterback, who has stepped up and answered with the offense all season. Out of eight full drives facing the Seahawks, only two ended with a punt. Of 48 offensive plays, the team only faced third down eight times.
“Just what he has kind of been doing all year,” Shanahan said. “He responded and the whole offense did. It wasn’t just the pass game or just the run game. I thought both did pretty well. They kept us out of a number of third downs. Our guys stepped it up when we had to. I wish we could have finished that last one so we didn’t have to come down to that.”
Not only is Garoppolo humble, he is human too. While teammates report that Garoppolo is extremely unfazed by high pressure moments in games, he did admit to a little case of nerves while watching the Seahawks' final drive.
“Every emotion you can imagine,” Garoppolo said. “Nerve-racking, anxiety. Every game that we’ve had lately seemed like it’s come down to the last play or two and this was no different. Defense stepped up huge though. It was incredible at the end though.”
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Garoppolo maintains that it’s not only himself who has stayed humble through it all. The entire locker room has thrived as the underdog and it continues to be the unmentioned motivation behind their success.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Garoppolo said. “Especially just from the start of the season, all the hearsay and everything, our team and what we were going to do and to come out here and get the one seed, it’s a pretty nice feeling. It’s a step in the right direction but we’ve still got a long way to go. I think we’ve got a great locker room with a great mentality. Guys are ready for this.”