Jimmy Garoppolo answered plenty of questions this season. Coming off a torn ACL, he led the 49ers to an NFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. He also produced one of the best statistical seasons ever for a QB in franchise history.
The playoffs are a whole different ballgame, though.
Garoppolo is a two-time Super Bowl champion, but he won those rings as Tom Brady's backup with the New England Patriots. The 49ers QB hasn't taken one snap in the playoffs over his six-year career. That will change Saturday when San Francisco faces the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium in the divisional round.
There are plenty of reasons to believe in Garoppolo as he makes his playoff debut -- just look at his numbers against teams that made it to the playoffs this season. As Niners Nation's Rob Lowder points out, Jimmy G has been pretty, pretty good against four teams that made it to the postseason.
Jimmy Garoppolo against playoff teams in 2019:— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 8, 2020
5 games (SEA, GB, at BAL, at NO, at SEA)
97 of 144 (67%)
114.52 quarterback rating#49ers
Garoppolo nearly was flawless in the 49ers' Week 17 win over the Seahawks, to win the division. He didn't throw a touchdown -- or an interception for that matter -- but he did complete 18 of 22 pass attempts for 285 yards. His passer rating was 118.8.
The Vikings certainly will be a tough task to conquer as well. Minnesota stymied Drew Brees last week, intercepting the future Hall of Famer and recovered a key fumble they forced against the 13-time Pro Bowler.
In the 49ers' five games against playoff teams this season, they went 3-2. But their two losses -- Week 10 against the Seahawks and Week 13 at Baltimore -- both ended on last-second field goals.
Coach Kyle Shanahan knows firsthand that the playoffs have a different feel to them. He also believes the 49ers' handful of close games this season will pay dividends for Garoppolo and the rest of the squad.
“I feel like last week was a playoff game,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “That was pretty intense, or whenever we played Seattle. I think he has shown that he can handle himself with poise."
When the going got tough in the regular season, Garoppolo was at his best. The 49ers believe he can do the same Saturday, and the QB has the numbers to back up those feelings.