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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo does less than just about any NFL playoff QB in recent memory

Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Objectively speaking, Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been asked to do much in his five career playoff starts. Only once — in his lone loss — have the 49ers asked Jimmy G to throw the ball more than 25 times. The 30-year-old veteran simply hasn’t done much more than game-manage his way to victory:

  • 2019 Divisional Round: 11 completions-19 attempts, 131 pass yards-1 TD-1 INT
  • 2019 NFC Championship: 6-8, 77-0-0
  • 2019 Super Bowl: 20-31, 219-1-2
  • 2021 Wild Card: 16-25, 172-0-1
  • 2021 Divisional Round: 11-19, 131-0-1

A win is a win is a win; Garoppolo is 4-1 in the playoffs and has the 49ers 60 minutes away from their second Super Bowl appearance in three years. This is good.

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Of course, the mere act of playing winning football doesn’t mean we need to *summons best Dennis Green voice* crown the ass of every Jim and Joe who finds their way to some playoff success. Fans, analysts and even the most casual football-ers will continue to rank players at every position as they see fit — and rationalizing who is truly good and bad with nothing more than wins and losses becomes problematic in a hurry.

This isn’t to suggest Garoppolo is a “bad” quarterback. He’s posted the following numbers this season among 44 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks (including playoffs):

  • PFF passing grade: 72.5 (No. 17)
  • QB rating: 95.5 (No. 15)
  • Yards per attempt: 8.5 (No. 2)
  • Adjusted completion rate: 77,8% (No. 6)
  • Team EPA per pass play: +0.128 (No. 8)

The 49ers field one of the league’s most efficient passing attacks; Kyle Shanahan certainly doesn’t care if Garoppolo doesn’t accomplish this with as much flair as more downfield-oriented signal-callers. Points are points and yards are yards regardless of the work that went into gaining them.

Still, Jimmy G has been asked to drop back less than just about any meaningful playoff quarterback in recent memory. The PFF database goes back to 2006, and Garoppolo is the *only* quarterback with at least three playoff starts to average fewer than 25 dropbacks per game. In fact, the likes of Mark Sanchez (27.2) and Ryan Tannehill (25) are the only quarterbacks even close to Garoppolo (18.7) in terms of not being asked to do all that much. It’s safe to say Garoppolo’s career 9-17-0 rushing line in the playoffs hasn’t added much to the equation.


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