Jimmy Garoppolo Just Wins Games, and That Should Be Enough

Ryan Phillips

As Jimmy Garoppolo prepares to lead his San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game this weekend, it's fair to assess where the 28-year-old stands in the NFL's quarterbacking hierarchy. One thing is certain after breaking down the numbers: Garoppolo wins games, and that should be enough for everyone.

Garoppolo's first NFL start came with the New England Patriots back in 2016. He stepped in during Tom Brady's "Deflategate" suspension and went 2-0. After being traded to the 49ers in the middle of the 2017 season, he made five starts, winning them all. In 2018, he opened the season as San Francisco's starter and went 1-2 before tearing his ACL and being lost for the season. Then came the big breakthrough this season.

In 2019, Garoppolo and the Niners showed up in a big way. They went 13-3 in the regular season (with Garoppolo starting every game) and won handily in their divisional round game against the Minnesota Vikings. That puts Garoppolo's record in games he's started at 22-5 if you include the playoffs, which is incredibly good.

I can already hear some of you screaming that a win-loss record is a terrible way to judge a quarterback. You may be right, but the simple fact is that the 49ers are winning with Garoppolo. Does that mean he has the best arm or is the most dynamic playmaker under center? Absolutely not, but he makes enough plays to win games and clearly doesn't hurt his team. Oh, and his numbers aren't bad either.

In 2019, Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards, with 27 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He ranked fifth in the NFL in completion percentage (69.1), third in yards per attempt (8.4), 12th in QBR (58.8) and eighth in passer rating (102.0). Meanwhile, his passer rating in the fourth quarter is 105.9, and in the fourth quarter when the game is within seven points, it's 112.4.

Yes, the 49ers win games with their running game and defense, but Garoppolo has made plays when he's needed to. That's what great quarterbacks do.

On Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, Garoppolo will have his chance to prove what he can do while facing off against one of the NFL's best in Aaron Rodgers.

Garoppolo may never be a guy who puts up video game numbers like Patrick Mahomes or Drew Brees. But he completes the objective in front of him as well as any quarterback in the NFL right now. He just wins games and that should be enough.