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Jimmy G's 'emotional' moment with Juice before Rams game

/ by Taylor Wirth
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For the first half of Sunday's game, it appeared as if Jimmy Garoppolo was playing in his final game with the 49ers. 

And then, well ... the rest was history. 

After overcoming a 17-point deficit to eventually beat the Los Angeles Rams 27-24 in overtime and secure a spot in the playoffs, the 49ers' season lived to see another week. That comeback was, in large part, a product of Garoppolo's gutsy performance. 

When the 49ers drafted rookie quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, from the outside looking in, it was understood that this season would likely be Garoppolo's last with San Francisco. Of course, the team has never come out and said that, but the writing appears to be on the wall. 

Entering the Week 18 clash with the Rams, the 49ers needed a win or a New Orleans Saints loss to secure a playoff spot. The latter did not happen, so the 49ers were forced to mount a massive comeback to continue their season. 

With a very real chance that Sunday would have been Garoppolo's last game in red and gold, 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk shared an emotional moment with the veteran quarterback before the game. 

"I can remember before the game, Kyle Juszczyk, our fullback, came up to me," Garoppolo told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer after the game. "And we hugged, and he was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to get emotional or anything, but this is our last regular-season game together.' It was a pretty cool moment, and from that point on, I really was like, ‘This could be it.’ I don’t know, just toward the end there, there were some surreal moments just on third down and in the red zone."

 

Despite the team never publicly saying Garoppolo's tenure will end after this season, it appears as if his 49ers teammates wanted to cherish every last moment with the quarterback in anticipation of Week 18 possibly being his final time on the field with them. 

Garoppolo's heroics Sunday will not go unnoticed and they will certainly help define his tenure with the 49ers.. 

“It’s those big moments that you live for as a quarterback," Garoppolo said. "You want to be the guy with the ball at the end. When you get that opportunity, just, I don’t know...

“You bring up the emotional stuff, man,” Garoppolo told Breer. “It’s tough. It really is. I love these guys. I love these players. We’ve been through a lot together, and there’s just some guys in that huddle that you look into their eyes and it means a lot to them, it means a lot to me, and just the whole team together, it’s a great group and I just don’t want this to end anytime soon.”

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It still remains to be seen what the future holds for Garoppolo. In the present, however, he and the 49ers will prepare to face off against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium for what should be an electrifying matchup between two of the league's best offenses. 

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