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49ers in Five: Why does Jimmy Garoppolo put the ball in harm’s way so often?

Both Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan spoke about it yesterday

Everything you need to know in five minutes

Now that the 49ers are in the conference championship game, the national media has caught up to the storylines that 49ers fans have been talking about all season long.

Naturally, that means Jimmy Garoppolo and his propensity to put the ball in harm’s way at times. During yesterday’s media session, Jimmy was asked about his philosophy when it comes to throwing the ball away and living the play another down.

“When it’s necessary, you’ve got to,” Jimmy said, “I think each play, whether it’s first, second, third down, I think all that takes into consideration. But the Dallas game we had to do it a couple times, I can remember. But yeah, if you don’t have to throw it away, you want to take a chance to a certain degree, but that’s a fine line. Some of those amazing plays that people make, some of those should have been throwaways, but they decided to try and make a play, so there’s a balance there.”

While it is true that there have been a handful of plays where Jimmy has extended things and made a big play, there are also other examples (especially in these playoffs) of that never-say-die attitude leading to game-changing turnovers. For his part, Kyle Shanahan seemed to be okay with that.

“I think one of the hardest things with Jimmy is when people are covered, he believes he can just put the ball in the right spot, which he does a lot. That throw that he threw to [WR] Jauan Jennings on third-and-five, we were hot, he didn’t have time to throw that ball and somehow, he created it, which is one of the most talented throws I’ve ever seen. And Jauan ended up dropping it. That was unbelievable. Was it the best decision? It was because it was right on the money, but that’s the stuff that not many people can pull off and that is risky. So that’s a fine line when you have someone who is as talented of a thrower as Jimmy. He doesn’t feel the same way always in the heat of the battle, that he can’t make that throw.

Now when you watch it on tape and stuff, then he’ll see it. But you’re not thinking about that when you’re playing a sport, you’re just reacting and those are the things that I try to put him in better situations. And sometimes when it doesn’t go the right way, yeah, it’s disappointing. But I can’t tell you how many times that I don’t think anyone’s open and there is no play to be made and we need to make one or the game’s going to be over and he finds a way to make it. And I’m not then saying, ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ I’m thanking him for that. That’s playing quarterback in this league, so it goes both ways.”

For now, the combination of Deebo Samuel, great defense, and timely special teams plays has gotten the 49ers to the precipice of the Super Bowl. We’ll find out Sunday if Garoppolo can add his name as one of the reasons the 49ers got over the top.