Jimmy Garoppolo struggled a lot on Sunday, but pump the brakes on it being a major cause for concern.
For the final five games last year, Jimmy Garoppolo was something akin to the second coming of Joe Montana for the San Francisco 49ers. The team went 5-0 with Garoppolo starting, as he topped 290 passing yards four times in that span. Add in his two starts for the New England Patriots, and “Jimmy G” entered the new season 7-0 as an NFL starter.
A reality check was bound to come at some point, and it did on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Garoppolo completed less than half of his passes (15-for-33) for 261 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, as the 49ers went home with a 24-16 loss.
Some good, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Dante Pettis and averaging 7.9 yards per attempt, was met with too much bad against one of the league’s best defenses on the road. But let’s look at Garoppolos’ circumstances on Sunday.
Minnesota were No. 1 in the league in total and scoring defense last year, and all the key pieces return this year. The 49ers went through two right guards in the game, which pushed first-round pick Mike McGlinchey inside and put Garry Gilliam in to take over at right tackle.
The 49ers went into Sunday already without running back Jerick McKinnon, who suffered a torn ACL in practice a little over a week ago. Then wide receiver Marquis Goodwin left the game early in the second quarter with a quad issue before trying to return, eventually to no avail. That opened up an opportunity for Pettis, but there’s little argument that Goodwin is San Francisco’s best wide receiver.
Garoppolo’s performance on Sunday is obviously not going to be a shining moment of his 2018 season. But even Aaron Rodgers has had his struggles against Mike Zimmer’s defense, so let’s see how Garoppolo bounces back next week against the Lions before even starting to draw any conclusions.