Two years ago, Fooch told me, “The best advice I can ever give you is there is never too much, Jimmy G.” And that’s never more than true this week after Garoppolo had his best day as a pro. Kyle already broke Garoppolo down here, and it’s far more articulate and better than anything I could come up with. There is one stat we haven’t talked about. Jimmy Garoppolo’s passes completed with the deep ball. His deep pass completion rate is at 56 percent and first in the league.
Now that link is to NFL.com fantasy guru Graham Barfield who doesn’t provide much in terms of distance for these “deep balls.” I checked out Player Profiler for some stats on Garoppolo passes of 20 yards or more and found he’s at 53% completion rate and STILL No. 1 in the NFL. As far as trying to nail down your definition of a deep ball and where Garoppolo is for the deep ball, that’s up to you, but anyway you slice it, Garoppolo is better at throwing those long passes.
Big whoop, right? Wrong yet again. For those criticisms against Garoppolo, one of the more popular ones was how he struggled with the deep ball.
Well, we can put that small concern to bed with the above stats. Of course, we all know my saying, stats lie, the tape doesn’t. Here you go:
At first glance, I thought Garoppolo underthrew the pass. That was first glance. I agree with our friend James Brady who notes if you watch Emmanuel Sanders on that play, the ball arrives exactly on time and on point.
I was more scared Sanders would get flagged for offensive pass interference on the play, but when you see from a different angle, they both were tangled. Kudos to Sanders for getting up and taking off when he knew the whistle hadn’t been blown so the 49ers could get the touchdown. It was in this strange turn of plays the 49ers ran something like 13 plays and got touchdowns in a third of them.
Regardless of where you want to get your correct stat or percentages for what defines a deep ball, Garoppolo has strongly improved in that category. It never seemed like much of an issue in Kyle Shanahan’s system, but as New Orleans showed us, it certainly helps.