Following a convincing win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers have returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in six years. That has put them on the doorstep of adding a sixth Super Bowl to their mantel with a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. It has also placed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the limelight against his counterpart, Patrick Mahomes, but that 49ers may not need him to go toe-to-toe with the reigning league MVP to come out on top.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance in the playoffs
In his first trip to the playoffs with the 49ers, Garoppolo hasn’t had to shoulder a heavy load through the first two games. San Francisco has been able to find much success behind the play of their stout defense and running game leading the charge.
Garoppolo has completed 17-of-27 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception. That includes him throwing for just 77 yards on 6-of-8 completed passes in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers cruised past the Packers behind their dominant rushing attack led by Raheem Mostert posting 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns, which saw him become the first player in NFL history to record at least 200 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in a playoff game.
Meanwhile, the 49ers defense proved to be the difference against the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round with them allowing a franchise playoff record with only 147 yards. That saw San Francisco garner six sacks while holding the Vikings to just 81 total yards until late in the fourth quarter.
It has lifted the bulk of the responsibility off Garoppolo’s shoulders as they have been dominant in other areas on the field. Still, the attention will undoubtedly shift over to his play on the grandest stage.
Jimmy Garoppolo holds second-best odds to win Super Bowl MVP
Like it has in each Super Bowl, the focus around the game begins on the quarterback matchup, with this year being no different.
Garoppolo will draw a significant amount of scrutiny, especially going up against arguably the best player at the position in the league. According to Gaming Today, the Las Vegas SuperBook has the 28-year-old currently slated with the second-highest betting odds to win the Super Bowl MVP award.
It’s an honor that has been dominated by quarterbacks, with 29 of the total winners being quarterbacks, which is more than four times more than another position. Things have shifted up a bit over the last six years with three non-quarterbacks earning the award, but it has primarily gone to that spot.
Garoppolo hasn’t been a moment yet in the playoffs where he has had to shoulder the bulk of the offense, whereas Mahomes has been the primary reason why the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl. It has seen different game plans for each team to reach this point, which will lead to an intriguing shake out to how the game will unfold.
Jimmy Garoppolo can hold his own
All that said, Garoppolo has shown the ability to hold his own when needed this season to help guide the 49ers to wins.
The one game that quickly comes to mind is his performance in the 48-45 win over the New Orleans, where he matched the play of Drew Brees by passing for 349 yards with four touchdowns. That included leading the team down the field in the final minutes of regulation to set up the game-winning field goal.
Garoppolo also put up big games in both instances against the Arizona Cardinals with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns in each contest. It did come against the Cardinals’ struggling defense, but it shows that he can be depended on to put up strong outings with his arm.
At the same time, Garoppolo has the luxury of playing with a stout defense and a highly productive running game. If things were to transpire to need him to step up in crucial moments, the 49ers are more than confident their quarterback can make the necessary plays to pull out a win.