Jimmy Garoppolo, who was at the center of the 49ers’ emotional 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Garoppolo becomes the 49ers’ first NFC Offensive Player of the Week since Week 1 of the 2013 season when wide receiver Anquan Boldin won the award. He is the first 49ers quarterback to win since Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick both were honored during the 2012 season.
The 49ers have been recognized three times as winner of the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Nick Bosa won it twice (Weeks 5 and 8), and Fred Warner (Week 12) was honored for his game against Green Bay.
In Week 14, Garoppolo completed 26 of 35 pass attempts for 349 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 131.7. He also picked up a key first down in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard scramble.
“Jimmy is a baller,” 49ers receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “You can look at him and see what kind of player he is. He works hard. When you’ve got somebody like Jimmy with the personality that he has, in the clutch moments he’s not going to fold because of all the hard work that he’s put in.”
The biggest play of the game came in the final minute of the fourth quarter, when Garoppolo completed a pass to tight end George Kittle on fourth-and-2 to get the first down. Then, Kittle did the rest by himself, dragging defenders for a 39-yard gain. A facemask penalty put the 49ers in position for Robbie Gould’s game-winning 30-yard kick as time expired.
The 49ers lead the NFC West and own the top record in the NFC at 11-2.
Garoppolo is heating up for the 49ers at the right time. He has produced passer ratings of 110 or better in six of his past seven games. In the past seven games, Garoppolo completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,931 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Saints pressured Garoppolo on 34.2 percent of his dropbacks, the second-highest pressure rate he has faced this season, according to Zebra Technology, the official on-field tracking technology of the NFL. He completed six of eight passes for two touchdowns on passes of 10 yards or more in the air for a passer rating of 156.3.
It did not come easy, either. Garoppolo also threw into tight windows on 22.9 percent of his throws, according to Zebra, which is significantly higher than his season average of 15.5 percent of throws to receivers who are well-covered.