The 49ers quarterback has had two bad shots in his last four attempts, and better accuracy on either one could have changed the outcome in a 24-20 loss to the Cardinals.
First, first on Arizona’s 21-yard line with 1:21 left, Garoppolo beat Bourne, who was open in the end zone after freezing All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and goaltender. Chris Banjo with a soft stuttering step at 10.
“It’s on Jimmy Garoppolo,” Fox analyst Chris Spielman said during the replay, “because it’s such a great road from Kendrick Bourne. ”
Three shots later, the fourth and fifth, Garoppolo’s late, off-target throw to Taylor, which was briefly open, meant that a first down turned into a break-up assist for cornerback Byron Murphy Jr.
“I think the road is good,” Spielman said. “I think the pass is bad. I mean, the pass is bad because it’s late and he’s late.
After Sunday’s game, head coach Kyle Shanahan, without prompting, noted that Garoppolo’s pass was behind Taylor when asked about poor production from his wide receivers. And he acknowledged that Garoppolo needed to “play better”, although he regrouped his QB with all the offense.
However, Shanahan made an effort on Monday to shield Garoppolo from criticism when asked if both throws were just “bad passes.” Shanahan started off by saying that Bourne should have jumped into the end zone to make contact and draw a flag on Peterson, who has his back to the ball.
“It would have been nice, I think, if Bourne had sided,” Shanahan said. “I think we would have gotten (pass interference). So that’s something he will learn from it because he (beaten) it.
And Shanahan said Taylor changed his course, which disturbed the pace of Garoppolo’s last pass.
“Their timing was a bit off,” Shanahan said. “He did a little extra movement at the top and Jimmy hesitated a bit and tried to recover with his arm and left it behind him a bit. We just have to improve ourselves by throwing and catching.
Still, it was more about the throw than the catch on the two passes. So what did Garoppolo do wrong?
“The ball was a little underhanded,” Shanahan said. “The balls are thrown all the time. You don’t always hit guys perfectly in stride. You undershoot a ball and that doesn’t make it perfect, so a catcher has to go play and he didn’t. There is nothing more. It’s pretty straightforward. He only passed her a hair out of the two. The guys still had chances, but it would have been a really good game if they were successful.
Shanahan is one of a host of offensive-minded coaches who can be tough on their QBs. On Monday, for example, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians appeared to publicly incite Tom Brady by suggesting that the QB with six Super Bowl rings was not ready for prime time in a 34-23 loss to the Saints Sunday.
“He looked like Tom Brady in practice all the time, so it’s pretty unusual to see that in a baseball game,” Arians said. “Because they didn’t do things we weren’t prepared for.”
Of course, Garoppolo doesn’t have Brady’s CV. And he might need a slap on the back more than blisters after an offseason that spoke a lot about his late-game Super Bowl performance.
Garoppolo’s 2020 season began as his 2019 season ended: he knocked down a potential and winning touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders in Super Bowl LIV before beating Bourne on Sunday.
As with the Super Bowl, Garoppolo’s finish obscured the bright spots.
He completed 18 of 29 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions before his last four attempts, good for a 113.3 passer rating. Sounds more impressive considering he was playing without two top outers – Deebo Samuel and first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk – and All-Pro tight winger George Kittle suffered a knee sprain in the second quarter and had a second. half-time without catch.
Additionally, Garoppolo, who was dropped for three sacks, had to deal with sporadic upward pressure. The 49ers’ inside offensive line included third-string center Hroniss Grasu and right guard Daniel Brunskill, who was making his third career start at the post.
However, Shanahan largely complimented the offense on Monday after the 49ers had 10 points in the final 55 minutes and placed 2-for-13 in the third and fourth downs of the game.
Shanahan was “happy” with the performance of the offensive line, said the sidelined players “had done their job,” said Kittle did “a hell of a job” in the second half and said running back Raheem Mostert had made a “good match”.
That, of course, left Garoppolo, who failed in the end.
And that meant the best Shanahan could do for him was to offer protection, but not praise.
Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Eric_Branch