A little over two months ago, the common consensus was that Jimmy Garoppolo’s time with the San Francisco 49ers had come to an end. Whether it was to come via trade or outright release, it appeared that Garoppolo’s time with the 49ers had come to an end.
Fast forward to Week 12, and Garoppolo is not only still on the roster but playing at a dare, I say, an elite level that has been on par with the top players at his position this season. This is a version of Garoppolo that we have never seen.
Garoppolo is turning the ball over less, throwing downfield more often, and playing with a consistent level of confidence and swagger unparalleled to any other stretch in the near decade that he has been in the NFL.
One area where Garoppolo has shined this season has been on third down, where the 49ers' offense has performed well beyond the league average when Garoppolo is throwing the ball in these situations.
The 49ers convert 51 percent of the time on third down when Garoppolo attempts a pass this season. The league average in the NFL this season when attempting a pass on third down is 38 percent, well below the number that Garoppolo and the 49ers have put up.
While Garoppolo has had efficient numbers on the money downs in years past, what truly sets his play apart this season has been his ability to do it when the 49ers are well behind the sticks and the opposing defenses are much more equipped to sell out against a passing play.
In situations where the 49ers are facing 3rd & 10 plus yards this season, they convert 39 percent of the time when Garoppolo attempts a pass. The league average conversion rate this season in those situations is just 23 percent.
Here are Garoppolo’s numbers when he throws the ball on third down this season:
63 percent completion pct.
9.01 yards per attempt
121.9 passer rating
51 percent conversion rate
Third down often decides the outcome of any given NFL game, and right now, the 49ers must find themselves elated knowing their quarterback is executing in these spots at a higher clip than the majority of the players at the position in the league currently are.