When the 49ers needed a big play Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo and Emmanuel Sanders connected for a monster touchdown.
San Francisco cut the New Orleans Saints' lead to 20-14 early in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, thanks to Garoppolo's 75-yard heave to Sanders. Sanders initially burned his man in the secondary, then slowed up to beat Saints safety Marcus Williams and track back to Garoppolo's underthrown pass.
When Sanders hit the ground after hauling Garoppolo's throw, he had plenty of time to get back on his feet and evade Williams and Vonn Bell.
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The TD was the longest of Garoppolo's career, and Sanders matched a career-long he set four years ago with the Denver Broncos. Sanders' reception was his third of the day and his 125 yards on those three catches are Sanders' most with the 49ers. Sunday was Sanders' first game with 100-plus receiving yards since Halloween, and he was limited to just 113 yards over the last four weeks after he battled a ribs injury.
Sanders was healthy enough to suit up as one of only four receivers Sunday, and he even matched Garoppolo with a passing TD of his own on the 49ers' ensuing drive.
Is there a QB controversy brewing? (Jokes).
Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.
The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.
Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.
“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said this week on “The Herd.” “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”
The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.
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When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.
When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.
No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.
Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.
The 49ers will fly to Miami on Sunday to play in the NFL franchise’s seventh Super Bowl. Despite this being a semi-regular thing, CEO Jed York isn’t treating it that way.
York said Friday that he’s bringing all full-time staff to Miami for Super Bowl week and treating them to the game. He even mentioned bringing interns.
That’s, you know, a lot of people on the 49ers’ dime.
“We're taking a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that our entire staff had the opportunity to go,” York said in a meeting with local reporters. “Everybody from [head coach Kyle Shanahan to general manager John Lynch] all the way down to interns, everyone's been a part of this, and we wanted to make sure they're there to help and also celebrate the moment that hopefully gets us over the hump."
That’s an unusual benefit for support staff outside football operations, one that will allow everyone involved with the 49ers to enjoy a week basking in the team’s achievements leading up to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.
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The 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most in NFL history. The Chiefs are currently 1.5-point favorites in this clash of Titans.