“Honestly that’s been one of the most frustrating parts of the whole loss, is seeing the criticism of Kyle and of Jimmy,” Juszczyk said during a Friday appearance on Good Morning Football. “Those are two guys that have absolutely nothing to prove to the rest of the guys in the locker room.”
Shanahan just directed one of the biggest two-year turnarounds in league history, and it coincided with Garoppolo’s first full season as a starter. They couldn’t have proved much more through 18 games and three quarters. It’s the final quarter of the final game that has many questioning their ability, especially Garoppolo.
“You look at Jimmy, for people that are stats guys, 4,000 yards passing, better than a 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 70 percent completion, you just look at that, that’s a phenomenal quarterback,” Juszczyk said. “Anybody’s going to sign up for that early in the season. But for whatever reason, Jimmy just seems to get this extra criticism, this extra heat. But I think at one point in the game, he’s like 19 for 22, 180 yards and a touchdown.”
Entering the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, Garoppolo was in fact 17 of 20 for 185 yards with a touchdown and INT. He proceeded to go 3 of 11 for 36 yards and threw another INT as San Francisco saw its 10-point lead morph into a 31-20 loss. While Jimmy G wasn’t the only Niner to come up short down the stretch against the Chiefs, his missteps were likely magnified by the contrasting brilliance of Patrick Mahomes in crunch time.
“That’s football, though. You just change one or two plays in a game and the whole dialogue changes, the whole narrative,” Juszczyk said. “Like you said, if he completes that ball to Emmanuel (Sanders), we’re not talking about it. He’s Super Bowl MVP, we’re Super Bowl champions, Jimmy’s the next Tom Brady, all those things. That’s the new narrative. So it’s unfortunate that one or two plays can really change everyone’s outlook on someone.”
Garoppolo, Shanahan and the 49ers really were close to being regarded in an entirely different light. Changing the current narrative, though, will now take more than executing a few additional plays. They have to get back to the Super Bowl and win it.