Jimmy Garoppolo's start against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday was suboptimal, as the 49ers quarterback opened the game 1-for-4 with an interception which head coach Kyle Shanahan deemed "inexcusable" in the postgame press conference.
After the ghastly interception, cameras caught Shanahan going on a fiery rant to Garoppolo on the sidelines. After four seasons together, Garoppolo is no stranger to the "Shana-rant," and the veteran quarterback responded, completing 16 of his final 22 passes while leading the 49ers to an important 34-26 win.
Former 49ers lineman and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Joe Staley liked how Garoppolo responded to Shanahan's lashing.
“I’ve been on the sideline before when Kyle shields his face with the playsheet and rips his quarterback and other players, and it’s not fun,” Staley told KNBR's "Papa & Lund." “You don’t want to be a part of that. Kyle has a mastery of cursing you out and sounding really cool while he does it.
“Whatever he said to Jim got him dialed back in. It shows a lot of growth. Jimmy is playing with a lot of confidence right now. That is a perfect example of the confidence he has in himself to kind of flush that. As players when things don’t go your way, guys will fold under pressure sometimes and start doubting themselves.
“He finished the day going 16-for-21. Very efficient on third-down conversions. He got back to what we saw in the last four weeks. I think it just comes back to the confidence he has right now, in the system, in himself, to regroup, not doubt himself and lead the team. And he’s doing a good job of that this year.”
Garoppolo has been one of the most efficient and accurate quarterbacks over the past month. It's no coincidence that the uptick in Garoppolo's play has coincided with the 49ers leaping back into the NFC playoff picture.
To Shanahan, the 30-year-old quarterback responded exactly the way he wanted after a rough opening drive.
“I just wanted him to hear directly from me,” Shanahan said. “On a headset, I'm talking to coaches and they can pass along information. I just told him the obvious, what he missed and told him to let it go and we're going to come right back to you and we need you to be aggressive for the rest of the game. And he was and he handled it right.”
After starting the season 2-4, Garoppolo and Shanahan have elevated their games and turned the 49ers' ship around, and it will be on them to determine how far the 2021 49ers' season concludes.