San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the first Niner to win NFC offensive player of the week in almost seven seasons. The last time a 49er won NFC Offensive Player of the Week was Week 1 of the 2013 season when Anquan Boldin won the award. A quarterback on the team hasn’t won the award since 2012 when both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick did that year.
Considering the stakes and what was asked of Garoppolo, I thought his performance against the New Orleans Saints was his best to date. Garoppolo hadn’t been called on like that all season. Some mentioned the Cardinals games, as well as the final throw to Dante Pettis against the Steelers.
This was different.
Garoppolo didn’t need to keep pace with the high-flying Saints offense against Arizona. Unlike the Steelers game, Jimmy needed to be on his A-game from wire-to-wire in the playoff-like atmosphere that was New Orleans. Garoppolo finished with 349 yards passing and completed 26 of his 35 passes for four touchdowns and a passer rating of 131.7. There were a few plays Jimmy G made with his legs as well throughout the game. Whether running for a first down in the fourth quarter or buying time and throwing a touchdown to Kendrick Bourne.
Maiocco had a great stat:
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.
Throwing into tight windows will be the name of the game come playoff time. Garoppolo was throwing with plenty of confidence Sunday. The thing that stood out was he was throwing guys open if that’s what was required.
Good for Jimmy, he earned it.