Much has been made about the number of attempts Jimmy Garoppolo has during the playoffs. The talk has been centered around why the San Francisco 49ers are “doomed” if they have to throw it against the Kansas City Chiefs, as if Jimmy G hasn’t shown he can win games with his arm, or Kyle Shanahan isn’t his play-caller. My train of thought is it’s encouraging when you can win without having to throw. That is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. Garopplo was asked that, and a few other questions.
What do you need to do get more passing attempts?
“Got to talk to [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] or something. I mean, we were running the hell out of the ball tonight. It made my life very easy back there. I think we had, like, eight pass attempts. A fun night.”
Talk about the offensive line, how they performed today?
“I thought they came out from the first snap ready to roll. They made a couple of ankle tackles early. You saw the way the game was playing out, and [RB] Raheem [Mostert] just took off tonight.”
Could you tell early on you guys were going to have that type of success on the ground?
“You always think that way and you try to plan that way, but you kind of feel the game out as it goes. I thought Kyle did a good job calling the game and I thought the guys did a great job executing.”
You talk all the time about complementary football. What is it about this particular style of defense and the run game that works so well at this time of the year?
“It’s a long season. So, people always get banged up and things like that. But, when you can play good defense, run the football like that and be efficient on third down it makes you tough to beat this time of year. It’s a good combo for success.”
That third-and-eight run by Raheem, his first touchdown, is it something that you guys worked a lot on in the run up to this?
“A little bit, yeah. Just it’s part of the game plan and Kyle called it at the perfect time. It was a great set up. It was awesome.”
Did you have a strong sense that they would lean heavily towards stopping the pass based on last game?
“You kind of have a feeling of it, but this defense, it’s kind of a feast-or-famine defense. We got a couple big plays the first time we played them, and we thought we’d have those opportunities, but they wanted to take those away and open up the running lane. Just kind of pick your poison type of thing.”
When you got bent back awkwardly, there was a little gasp in the press box, but you were okay obviously?
“Yeah, scary moment. But, the brace held up again. Knock on wood.”
You’ve been to Super Bowls. So, what can you tell the guys that haven’t been to Super Bowls what to expect? And are you going to have to lay down a standard for the next couple of weeks?
“This first week is where you really have to take advantage of it. Because once you get down there to Miami, in this case, it’s a crazy week down there. So, got to take advantage of this first week and get ahead of the other team.”
The last Super Bowl with the Patriots, you were the backup. Obviously, it’s a little different now. What does that mean for you personally, within the context of the team thing?
“It’s just, starting back with the ACL and everything, since then it’s been crazy. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of a ride. And nowhere else I’d rather be than in a dogfight with than with those guys in the locker room. Great group to be with, everyone pulling together and everyone tight together. Just a great group, it really is.”
Do you think Mostert’s rise is kind of emblematic of the guys on the roster and the team in general where he’s come from and where he is now?
“I guess so. Throughout the entire year, guys would get hurt, other guys would come in, plug themselves in, we wouldn’t really miss a beat. It’s just that’s the type of team we have.”
Backstory on the shirt that TE George Kittle has autographed by you. Is that available at the 49ers team store? I mean in Miami we could sell cases of those. What’s the story?
“I got him earlier in the week with a shirt, showed it to the media and everything. He had to get me back a little bit. But, I thought it was a nice shirt he had on. Maybe we’ll get them in the team store soon.”
Talk a little bit about how your skill players are so enthusiastic about blocking. That’s pretty unusual.
“Yeah, it’s a good group of guys. Just, I mean, with only eight pass attempts, and they’re no different on the sideline than they were when we were in New Orleans playing the ball all over the place. When you have a group like that, it makes it tough to beat and fun to be around.”