49ers

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 25-23 win over Titans

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 25-23 win over Titans

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 15 on Sunday:

1. JIMMY DOES IT AGAIN
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has brought something special to the 49ers. The team won just once in its first 11 games of the season. Since Garoppolo took over as the starter, the 49ers are 3-0, including two late-game comebacks.

His performance Sunday was his best, as the 49ers took down the Titans – a team battling for a spot in the AFC playoffs.

The 49ers were trailing by one point with 1:07 remaining and had the ball at their own 25-yard line. Garoppolo immediately completed passes to Trent Taylor, George Kittle and Marquise Goodwin. And the next thing you know, the 49ers had moved 48 yards down the field for the game-winning field goal.

Garoppolo completed 31 of 43 pass attempts for 381 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 106.8.

The 49ers are settling for way too many field goals, so all is not perfect. But considering where this team – where this offense – was before Garoppolo arrived on the scene, and it has been a remarkable transformation.

The 49ers rolled up 414 yards of total offense despite a sputtering run game. Garoppolo spread the ball around to nine different receivers – including himself. He made the ill-advised decision to hold onto a ball that came back at him after being deflected at the line of scrimmage. Garoppolo was quickly tackled for a 6-yard loss.

So, yes, he’s not perfect.

2. GOOD AS GOULD
As if five field goals and a streak of 19 accurate kicks in a row was not enough, Robbie Gould had to make one more on the final snap of the game to prevent what would have been a heart-breaking defeat.

Gould was true, making a 45-yarder as time expired, to go along with kicks of 38, 48, 28, 50 and 48 yards. He made five field goals two weeks ago against his former team, the Chicago Bears, in a 15-14 victory at Soldier Field.

In the past three weeks, Gould has made 15 field goals – something no kicker has done in NFL history over a three-game stretch.

Gould has made 36 of his 38 field-goal attempts (.947 accuracy) and already is second all-time in club history for made field goals in a season. David Akers made 44 in 2011.

3. THE SUPPORTING CAST
Every game during the 49ers’ three-game win streak there has been someone else who steps up in a big play. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, however, has been the constant.

Goodwin caught a career-high 10 passes for 114 yards, including an 11-yarder on the field drive that helped get the 49ers into range for Gould’s winning kick. In three games with Garoppolo as the starter, Goodwin has 24 receptions for 319 yards.

But he is not alone.

Tight end Garrett Celek had three catches for 63 yards. Rookie tight end George Kittle had a big 24-yard reception on the final drive and finished with 52 yards receiving. Undrafted rookie wideout Kendrick Bourne contributed four catches for 85 yards.

And on the defensive side, there was no play bigger than DeForest Buckner’s stop of DeMarco Murray on a third-and-2 play for no gain that forced the Titans to settle for Ryan Succop’s 50-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining and ensured the 49ers would have enough time for Garoppolo to work his magic.

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

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USATSI

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”

Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'

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AP

Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'

There is a lot of hope surrounding the 49ers entering the 2018 season.

Much of that is because of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Much of that also is because of Kyle Shanahan.

"Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football," cornerback Richard Sherman said back in mid-March after he signed with the 49ers.

On the most recent episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell offered some high praise for San Francisco's head coach.

"When you look at a Kyle Shanahan offense, I think the thing that stands out the most -- that he does better than any coach in the NFL -- is the fusion between the run game and the pass game," Cosell said. "The run game and the pass game with their play-action concepts look exactly the same.

"And it's very, very difficult for defenses to differentiate the two very often until it's too late. And when you have a quarterback like Garoppolo -- who tends to be a quick decision-maker, a quick processor, he has a very quick compact delivery and then the ball gets out -- I think that just makes it even more difficult."

The 49ers won all five of Garoppolo's starts last season and put up 26, 25, 44 and 34 points in the last four games, respectively. Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal ($74.1 million guaranteed) -- which drastically increases the expectations.

Garoppolo and Shanahan could become one of the top head coach-quarterback duos for many years.

"When you talk to defensive coaches around the league, they will talk about Kyle Shanahan as one of the two or three of the best in the league when it comes to offensive design and game planning," Cosell added.