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New year, same story: Jimmy Garoppolo’s roller-coaster game costs 49ers in Denver

Same ‘ole Jimmy Garoppolo was the primary reason behind the 49ers’ embarrassing collapse in Denver.

San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

We’ve seen that movie one too many times since Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan have run the show since 2019.

Whether it was DeMeco Ryans or Robert Saleh at the helm, the defense would put together a signature performance, holding opponents to a very manageable score. Under Jimmy Garoppolo’s watch, the offense would have a few efficient drives down the field but have a few mistake-ridden dreams and ultimately make the game closer than it needs to be.

We saw it during the back half of the 2021 season when the 49ers’ defense really stepped up, but the offense and special teams would always find a way to give the opponent hope and life.

With Trey Lance at the helm, the hope was to avoid the offensive volatility and stabilize the unit on the back of a young franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, Lance didn’t look ready to carry the full weight of the passing offense and then got hurt and will miss the remainder of the season.

There was a lot of rejoicing and comfort at the thought of Jimmy Garoppolo starting again among the fanbase. I always attributed that to the fact that the 49ers under Garoppolo have won quite a lot, and that’s what most fans remember when they think of San Francisco’s quarterback.

However, I always think of the missed opportunities, continual brain farts, and lapses in football judgment. Let’s take a look at some of the misses from Jimmy Garoppolo that cost the 49ers a win on the road in Denver.

Here are three separate instances that could’ve been big plays for the 49ers — but end up being disasters instead.

First play, Jimmy Garoppolo misses Deebo Samuel streaking open down the right sideline. Second play, Garoppolo finds Samuel out of the backfield, but the ball was underthrown, and Samuel wasn’t able to score (or turn it into a bigger gain). Last play, Garoppolo walks out of the back of the end zone, forcing the safety.

Here’s another poor play from Garoppolo. He’s trying to hit George Kittle on the slant across the middle but doesn’t see the safety rotating down in a “robber” role, and it could’ve turned into an interception if the ball isn’t tipped at the line of scrimmage by D.J. Jones.

The worse part? There was a coverage bust on the side with three wide receivers, which meant Brandon Aiyuk roamed free down the middle of the field for a walk-in touchdown, but Garoppolo never sees it.

The story of Sunday was missed opportunities and how the offense (starting with Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan) couldn’t put away a bad Broncos team who was begging to give the game away with a putrid offensive performance of their own.