San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had one interesting question mark going into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears: his poor record running the play action with the New England Patriots. Going into the game, Garoppolo had the NFL’s highest passer rating when not running the play action (133.6) , but was fourth-worst when running it (61.8).
And that was concerning, given that Kyle Shanahan ran play action roughly one fourth of the time the team called a passing play, even when playing from behind, as they often have been.
But when he played the Bears, Garoppolo was efficient and effective running play action. He was 9-of-9 for 109 yards using play action, a welcome change from the 54.5 percent completion percentage the 49ers had on play action going into the game. That ranked them 30th in the NFL, per ESPN Stats and Information, via Nick Wagoner.
Play action is a crucial part of Shanahan’s offense, and given Garoppolo’s limited knowledge of the playbook, there was always the possibility the 49ers weren’t going to run fakes very much. Nine times in the game is pretty significant, and a sign that Shanahan isn’t changing his offense to suit Garoppolo, but rather expects the quarterback to adapt.
And he is. Garoppolo still has some dubious film when running the play action, but in the red and gold, he’s been nothing but perfect while executing the fake. Of course, the next team he faces will have a whole game of film from him in a 49ers uniform, and they will surely key in on the play action aspects, same as we are now.