It wasn't Jimmy Garoppolo's prettiest outing and certainly wasn't his best, but the 49ers quarterback gutted through the pain Sunday and delivered a 27-24 overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams to punch San Francisco's ticket to the NFL playoffs.
For Garoppolo, playing with a Grade 3 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb will require some adjustment as the 49ers turn their attention to their Wild Card Weekend date with the Dallas Cowboys.
"It feels great, feels great right now. After a win, of course," Garoppolo said after the victory over the Rams. "It got better as it went, I would say. Honestly, with injuries like that, your body is just learning and adapting the whole time. Early on, it was pretty numb and then just got better and better as it went. I think my arm just kind of learned how to adapt to it."
Garoppolo had a shaky first half as the 49ers fell into a 17-0 hole and trailed 17-3 at the break. But the 49ers punched back, with Garoppolo leading two scoring drives to open the second half, tying the game at 17. After the Rams took a 24-17 lead, the 30-year-old signal-caller got the ball at the 49ers' 12-yard line, needing to go 88 yards with no timeouts to send the game to overtime.
Bad thumb and all, Garoppolo opened the drive with a 21-yard strike to Brandon Aiyuk and a 5-yard pass to Jauan Jennings before hitting Deebo Samuel for 43 yards down to the Rams' 19. Two plays later, Garoppolo hit Jennings for a 14-yards score, and the 49ers' season had life.
After Robbie Gould opened the overtime period with a field goal to put the 49ers up three, rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas picked off Matthew Stafford to finish off the comeback and send the 49ers to the postseason.
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As the 49ers begin their playoff quest, it's all about pain management and pain tolerance threshold for Garoppolo, who rewarded coach Kyle Shanahan's faith by hanging tough and helping lead a monumental comeback win.
"He was unbelievable today," Shanahan said of Garoppolo.
"I just knew he was going to go out there and ball," Samuel echoed.
For Garoppolo, he'll head to Dallas with a chance to start writing what would be an epic final chapter to his Bay Area story, one that ends with Garoppolo hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with a bandaged right thumb.
That would feel great, baby.