On a 49ers team brimming with talent, San Francisco is regarded for its phenomenal defense, specifically its arsenal up front. On offense, coach Kyle Shanahan’s running game has been stellar, the wide receivers are emerging and George Kittle might well be the best tight end in the game.
It’s Garoppolo, the QB with matinee idol looks, who’s doubted most by critics.
That’s not the case within his locker room, though. Just asked offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey.
“You hear the talk that Aaron Rodgers is superior. … Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Famer,” McGlinchey said of Garoppolo’s counterpart in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “But we’re very confident that No. 10 is just as good as anybody out there. And he’s proven that time and time again this year.”
Comparing Rodgers and Garoppolo — counterparts in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game — is a bit unfair considering the former is headed to Canton if his career concluded this campaign, while the latter just wrapped up his first full regular season.
Nonetheless, the comparison this season is a fair one and a relatively even one.
Garoppolo started all 16 games, just as Rodgers did, and completed 69.1 percent of his passes, threw for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and tallied a 102.0 rating.
Rodgers, in comparison, completed 62 percent of his throw for 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns, just four picks and had a 95.4 rating.
Of course, when the two led their teams into Week 12, Jimmy G had the better numbers, just as his 49ers did in a 37-8 throttling. Rodgers had only 104 yards and a touchdown, while Garoppolo tallied 253 yards and two scores.
Despite the success, Garoppolo isn’t getting the recognition he deserves, according to McGlinchey. It might well be because of the 49ers‘ run-heavy approach.
“OK, we ran the ball 47 times against Minnesota,” McGlinchey said. “What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with our team doing that? Why does it have to fall back on a negative to Jimmy that he didn’t do enough? No, he did enough. We won the game by 17 points and dominated the entire game.”
No matter what the outside world thinks or says, by 49ers accounts they have their leader and that’s nothing new.
“If Jimmy’s struggling or if he’s balling, our guys would do anything for Jimmy,” Shanahan said Friday via team transcript. “That’s how he’s been since the first day he got here when we traded for him from New England. And he got here and we were an 0-9 team, didn’t know much what was going on. They just gravitated to him right away. And I’ve seen nothing change. I’ve only seen it get stronger.”
Whether the narrative leans more toward Garoppolo having led the 49ers to the NFC title game or having helped them really doesn’t matter. They’re a win away from the Super Bowl no matter the narrative.
However, it might simply be more fuel to the Niners’ fire.
“People who doubt him only give us an advantage,” McGlinchey said. “If you want to keep doubting him, he’s going to keep proving you wrong.”