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Jimmy Garoppolo’s efficient, turnover-free game leads to 49ers’ win

When Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t turn the ball over, this version of the 49ers are extremely hard to beat.

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

When Jimmy Garoppolo releases a pass, and it goes off the TV screen, I usually gasp, hoping that it’s not in the hands of a defender running the ball back the other way.

A two-play sequence during Sunday’s game perfectly describes Garoppolo as a player. First, it was a second-down throw that was nearly intercepted by the Panthers’ safety. It was followed by an absolute laser on third down that was thrown in between defenders to keep the chains moving.

When the 49ers get this version of Jimmy Garoppolo — who finished at 8.4 yards per attempt, a pair of touchdowns, and no interceptions — they’re extremely difficult to beat.

They have the NFL’s best defense (we’ll see after some injuries), and with the talent, they have on offense, there’s no reason for them not to be a double-digit win team.

Garoppolo and the 49ers moved to 17-5 after Sunday’s win when the quarterback didn’t throw an interception. They win 77 percent of the games that Garoppolo starts and doesn’t turn the ball over to the other team — that’s an incredible victory rate.

The 49ers’ signal-caller finished with a passer rating of 109.4 on Sunday, which was the fourth-highest of any quarterback that played on Thursday and Sunday:

San Francisco was also exceptional on third down, converting 58 percent of their attempts, and that all starts with their quarterback, who made a ton of throws under duress on the money down to keep the chains moving.

The 49ers’ offensive success can generally be pointed back to two things — third-down efficiency and turnovers. When they’re moving the chains on third down and also not turning the ball over, the offense becomes very difficult to slow down.

Per Niners Nation’s very own Jordan Elliott, Jimmy Garoppolo was 8-of-9, 118 yards, 1 touchdown with one touchdown, and no interceptions on third down. His passer rating was 155.7, and the 49ers converted 70 percent of the third downs where Garoppolo passed the ball.

Garoppolo has had back-to-back games of no interceptions, leading the 49ers to a 2-0 record. The last time he had back-to-back games of no interceptions was in Weeks 14-15 of last season vs. Cincinnati and Atlanta. Spoiler Alert: the 49ers were 2-0 in those games.

San Francisco’s offense, spearheaded by Kyle Shanahan, is going to require Jimmy Garoppolo to be an efficient point guard. Spread the ball around to the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Jauan Jennings. As long as Garoppolo keeps his assist numbers up and his turnover numbers down, the 49ers will continue to put points on the board and make it difficult on their opponents.

It feels like the 49ers have finally found their rhythm and identity on offense this past week, putting up 30 points on nearly 400 yards of total offense. They’ll face a tougher test in Atlanta next week, but this should be the expectation moving forward from Jimmy Garoppolo.