SANTA CLARA — After a fiery chat with Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo refocused and helped lead the 49ers to a 34-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The quarterback finished the day completing 17 of his 26 passing attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception giving him a 90.2 rating. But how it started did not please Shanahan.
The offense’s six-play opening drive abruptly ended with Garoppolo throwing an interception that was intended for Deebo Samuel. The pick came after two off-target incompletions - one to Samuel and another to Brandon Aiyuk.
Shanahan was seen on the broadcast having a heated talk with Garoppolo on the sideline. After the game, the head coach detailed what transpired.
“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.”
The Vikings took advantage of Garoppolo’s mistake and marched 49 yards down the field for a touchdown. Garoppolo knew his bad decision had dug his team into a seven-point deficit early in the game and he wasn’t surprised by his head coach’s demeanor.
“Just like normal, he always approaches me face-to-face with it,” Garoppolo said. “Just really, I had to get to my check down. It wasn't what we were looking for and I tried to be aggressive on it. But yeah, just can't do that, it wasn't a good decision.
“I have to be better than that with it. Just take the check down. They were giving those to us early and I just need to be more efficient with those.”
After their conversation, Garoppolo seemed to bounce back, putting together a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. The drive included a deep pass by the quarterback to Brandon Aiyuk that moved the ball 37 yards and moved the 49ers into Vikings territory.
Not much later, the 49ers ended the first half with a lengthy 15 play drive that went 85 yards and ended with a short touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Jauan Jennings.
“I thought he started off not great,” Shanahan said. “It took him a little bit to get into it. He missed a couple on that first drive and obviously, that pick was inexcusable. He knows that, but the way he bounced back, I thought was great.
“He made some huge throws, the way we finished the second quarter, being able to score there.”
The head coach was more pleased with his quarterback’s play in the second half that helped seal the win for the team. Along with help from the 49ers' rushing attack, Garoppolo and Co. did enough for a win.
The 49ers quarterback completed eight of his 10 second-half attempts for 118 yards. The offense as a whole put 20 points on the board and held on for the win. Shanahan, who is not known for being overly harsh in comments about his players after games, explained his use of the word “inexcusable.”
“I just wanted to use a bigger word there than I usually use, Shanahan said with a laugh. “And I'm a little amped up. So that was stupid of me. He knows it was, he saw it and it wasn't a good play call.
“No one was there, you take the sack or you hit the check down. He knew that and I knew it because I could see it wasn’t a good play call as soon as I called it. So that's kind of what I meant. It's not like it had a chance. ‘So that's why we have to count on you when it doesn't have a chance. We don't need those heroics right away’ and he understood it pretty well.”