San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stood up to the pressure of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense last week and delivered.
Garoppolo was under steady pressure, as the Steelers blitzed him on 20 of his 32 pass attempts, according to Pro Football Focus. He avoided sacks with his quick release and made Pittsburgh pay for their aggression in the 49ers’ 24-20 victory at Levi’s Stadium in Week 3.
“It is special,” general manager John Lynch said of Garoppolo’s ability to get rid of the ball quickly on 49ers Game Plan, which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).
The 49ers have the bye week, and Lynch said he believes Garoppolo showed he is on the right track as the club will take a 3-0 record into their Week 5 game on Monday, Oct. 7, against the Cleveland Browns.
“I was so proud of him, the way he hung in there,” Lynch said of the 49ers’ game last week against the Steelers. "They were coming after him. They were playing like a team that had their backs up against the wall. They were on the road. They were 0-2. They came with everything. I think Jimmy got better the more they came at him. And that’s a great testament to him.”
Garoppolo completed 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards on plays in which the Steelers brought five or more pass rushers, according to PFF. Many of those completions came with a defender in his face.
“It wasn’t always clean. It wasn’t always perfect. But he stood in there, and there was no questioning his toughness, which is a great sign,” Lynch said. “We’ve always known he has that, but he’s also coming off an ACL injury and that’s part of those hurdles you have to get over.”
Lynch said success of the 49ers offense against extra pass rushers is something that will force upcoming defensive coordinators to take notice.
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“He stood up to the test and what you want to do is make people know, ‘All right, you can bring pressure, but you’re also presenting opportunities for us to cash in when you do that,’” Lynch said. “I think he did cash in, and that will make people a little more reluctant about coming after him.”
Through three games, Garoppolo has completed 69 percent of his pass attempts for 739 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. His two interceptions against the Steelers came on passes that deflected off the hands of Matt Breida and Dante Pettis. Garoppolo and Pettis teamed up for the game-winning 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:15 remaining.