There's no sense in sugarcoating it: Jimmy Garoppolo was not great during the 49ers' Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium.
The 49ers quarterback went 19-for-33 for 259 yards and two touchdowns, but 76 of those yards came on a catch-and-run by Raheem Mostert that saw the running back gain 71 yards after the catch and another 41 came on a pass to Kyle Juszczyk. Garoppolo also went just 8-for-17 for 89 yards in the second half and missed two easy throws during the 49ers' final drive.
Legendary 49ers quarterback Steve Young believes he knows why Garoppolo struggled against the Cardinals and hasn't been able to elevate his game to the next level. It's something Young struggled with early in his career, as well.
“One of the things that I struggled with is I tended to read (my progressions) too fast,” Young told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Wednesday. “I would go, ‘Oh no, no, no’ and then my options were over, and then Mike Shanahan would turn to me like ‘Bro, no one is open because you’re going too fast.'
“The reason why I say that is I notice in Jimmy, especially in those key plays in the Super Bowl at the end, George (Kittle) came open, and he had to be primary, and my sense is when I watched the game back was that he went through it too fast. He wanted to make sure he found somebody and that’s when he overthrew out wide. I got that feeling again this week. He would go through things and it was like ‘Hold on. Just take a deep breath, they’re going to come open.'”
On the 49ers' final drive, Garoppolo missed Kendrick Bourne on an out-and-up that should have been the game-winning touchdown. Then on fourth down, he didn't even look at a wide-open Dante Pettis, and instead threw late and soft to Trent Taylor, allowing the defensive back to close ground and break up the pass.
Garoppolo also sailed an easy screen pass to tight end George Kittle in the first half. The pass forced Kittle to leap and exposed him to a hit to the knee from Cardinals safety Budda Baker. Kittle is questionable for Sunday's game against the New York Jets with a knee sprain.
Young will be watching to see if Garoppolo can slow the game day over the next few weeks when the 49ers face lesser opponents in the Jets and New York Giants.
“That’s something I want to keep an eye on," Young said. "Early on, you’re pressing. You’re pressing off of a Super Bowl situation that’s in the back of your mind. You feel like you’ve got to get things done, especially towards the end of games you feel you should win at home against the Cardinals, you press, and then you just get fast.
“It’s hard to know if you haven’t played what that looks like when you’re going too fast. To me, it looks like he’s going too fast, then late. There were times that he was late, not because he was too slow, but because he went too fast, and now you have nothing and the ball just kind of flies. I want to believe that things will get settled, and things will get much, much better.”
The Week 1 loss put the 49ers in the hole in the loaded NFC West and has people once again questioning whether or not Garoppolo has what it takes to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl title.
That question might not be answered for some time. But Garoppolo must play better over the next couple weeks to help the 49ers weather some early season injuries and stay in the playoff hunt.