There’s nothing quite like the Jimmy coaster. The 49ers' starting quarterback only threw four incompletions Sunday against the Rams. But he had two hold-your-breath throws that could have easily resulted in interceptions.
Garoppolo also threw a touchdown to what effectively was his third or fourth read in Christian McCaffrey after going from one side of the field to the other. Jimmy’s 9.4 yards per attempt isn’t fluffed up by multiple receivers doing the heavy lifting after the catch.
Per RBSDM, 46% of Garoppolo’s throws went for first downs, and he had a 71% success rate. Those are elite numbers, which is especially impressive when you factor in the team without Deebo Samuel.
Sunday was the first game in a long time where the offense succeeded on all downs. Sometimes they look good on third down but struggle early on and vice versa. But a 78 percent success rate on first and second downs helped keep the offense on the field.
After the game, Christian McCaffrey said, “the way he sees the field is so awesome. He makes it so easy for us.” Two plays came to mind once McCaffrey said that.
McCaffrey’s touchdown is the obvious example. The 49ers have the slot receiver running a slant to the top of the screen. That’s where Jimmy wants to go. However, linebacker Bobby Wagner does a great job of getting into the window and forcing Garoppolo to go elsewhere.
From there, Jimmy pivots his eyes to the right side, where Willie Snead (No. 83) is running some variation of a “jerk” route in the slot but is covered. With both routes covered, Garoppolo has the wherewithal to get to his check-down option.
Mind you, this is a pretty good option, and McCaffrey’s intelligence to take his route down the sideline should not go unnoticed, nor should the offensive line's protection. Garoppolo doesn’t panic, keeps his eyes downfield, and CMC shows off his athleticism by hauling in the pass.
The second play that supports McCaffrey’s statement was Ross Dwelley’s 56-yard catch. Dwelley was lined up as the outside receiver, with someone to his right in the slot. Dwelley runs a vertical route straight down the field, while the slot runs a short out route.
The Rams cornerback jumps the underneath route. And, frankly, how could you blame him? We can count on one hand how many times Jimmy has thrown the deeper route on this concept. But, this time, he did and made the Rams' defender pay.
I’m willing to forgive Garoppolo for his performance in Week 3 against Denver, given that was his first start. Last week against the Chiefs wasn’t pretty, but he’s had more positive performances and plays through the first half of the season.
Embrace the Jimmy coaster. He had the third-highest adjusted EPA per play among all quarterbacks before Sunday Night Football, with the highest success rate to go along with the sixth-highest expected completion percentage, per RBSDM.
It’s easy to project better performances with Deebo Samuel running the same routes that Willie Snead did today. And when you sprinkle in Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and McCaffrey all being on the field, the Jimmy coaster should make for a pleasant ride for the rest of the season.