Jimmy Garoppolo’s play as the 49ers quarterback has been hyper-analyzed over the past two seasons, as fans try to decide whether the organization indeed has found its franchise quarterback.
Winning certainly hasn’t been an issue for Garoppolo in the Bay Area, as he’s been the victor in 21 of his 26 regular-season starts.
His play in the fourth quarter was particularly impressive during his first full season as a starting quarterback, as evidenced by the numbers.
#49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo did plenty of damage in the 4th quarter of the regular season:— Fourth and Nine (@fourth_nine) May 27, 2020
• 6/1 - TD/INT
• 3rd down Comp% that went for a first down - 50% (1st in #NFL)
• 3rd down overall Comp% - 70.1 (4th)
• 4th quarter QBR - 107.1 (5th)
via @YacovoneRick #NinersAtNoon🕛 pic.twitter.com/iVe4MFc6jk
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Solely based off those stats, the argument could be made as to Jimmy G being considered a clutch quarterback.
But how does his fourth-quarter play stack up with his three opposing starters in the NFC West?
Garoppolo’s fourth-quarter passer rating (107.1) far surpasses that of Jared Goff with the Los Angeles Rams (79.7), Kyler Murray with the Arizona Cardinals (82.2) and Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson (99.4). The 49ers’ propensity for being ahead late in games last season allowed Garoppolo to hand the ball plenty in the final quarter, but close games in New Orleans in Week 14 and against the Rams in Week 16 showed that Jimmy G can make plays when it counts.
Garoppolo’s touchdown-to-interception ratio (6-1) only is bested by Wilson (7-1), who is one of the league’s best when it comes to limiting turnovers. Garoppolo also paces the division’s QBs in fourth-quarter completion percentage (70.09).
Having one of the league’s best defenses on his side makes Garoppolo’s job immensely easier, as coach Kyle Shanahan rarely had to rely on passing the ball to win games. Goff and Murray played quite a bit from behind in 2019, which was a detriment to their efficiency.
Wilson’s late-game heroics are a focal point of his reputation around the NFL, as 49ers fans saw first-hand during last year’s Week 10 loss to the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. But Wilson had a completion percentage below 50 in the red zone last season, where efficiency becomes even more imperative for a QB. Jimmy G was at just over 63 percent in the same zone, throwing 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
While Wilson clearly stands alone as the NFC West’s best quarterback entering 2020, Jimmy G and his clutch play in the final minutes aren’t far behind.