Jimmy Garoppolo improved to 3-1 in the playoffs as the 49ers' starting quarterback on Sunday, as San Francisco took down the Dallas Cowboys 23-17 in the NFC Wild Card Game.
But as he has done so often in the past, Garoppolo didn't make it easy for the 49ers or their fans. He finished the day with 172 passing yards while completing 16 of his 25 pass attempts. Garoppolo didn't throw a touchdown and did throw a critical interception.
Coach Kyle Shanahan felt Garoppolo played very well in the first half and got the job done for the most part. It's no surprise that his QB wants two tough throws back, though.
"Obviously that pick he'd like to have back and that one missed third down he missed the thrown on," Shanahan said.
With the 49ers ahead 23-7 and just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Garoppolo had a wide-open Brandon Aiyuk on third-and-10. Converting there felt like it could have put the game out of reach for the Cowboys. The 49ers clearly were the superior team, and Aiyuk was having a great performance in his playoff debut.
Instead, Garoppolo overshot Aiyuk and it started to feel like the 49ers' collapse in Super Bowl LIV all over again.
"Another tough one," Garoppolo said. "Those are the ones that you just have to hit. Those are the easy layup ones that you just got to make."
It only got worse from there. The Cowboys scored a field goal on their next drive, and Garoppolo was picked off the next time the 49ers got the back ball back. The collapse was on.
"The interception just got away from me, shot it high," Garoppolo said.
After turning the momentum to the home team, the Cowboys rode it all the way into the end zone the next time they had the ball. A Dallas field goal and then TD made it a six-point game.
Though the 49ers punted on both of their final possessions, San Francisco's defense -- plus some timely luck -- held on for another crazy win in a reprise of a once epic rivalry.
Garoppolo went just 5-for-11 for 39 yards and an interception in the second half. The 49ers wound up earning their first road playoff win since January of 2014, but if they expect to do so again next week against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the QB must be better when it counts the most.
Every miss matters in the postseason, and Garoppolo saved his worst for last.