• Matt Woolsey

Fighting Through Quicksand: How Jimmy G got Past Mental Blocks for a Monster Game

Image Credit: 49ers

You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like quicksand.

-Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves)

As I’m sitting here writing this article on one screen, I have “The Replacements”playing on another. There’s a scene in the beginning of the movie where Gene Hackman’s character says that what separates the winners from the losers is, “getting back on the horse after getting kicked in the teeth.”

Now it might be a slight exaggeration, but when you are the quarterback of a team, and then that team uses three first-round picks to acquire another quarterback, it’s like getting kicked in the teeth. When people have been calling for your trade or hell to just get cut, it’s like getting kicked in the teeth. Then to start the game Jimmy Garoppolo fumbled the snap from center Alex Mack. All metaphorically speaking of course but stuff like that can do something to a person’s psyche.

There’s another scene later in the movie when Keanu Reeves’ character says he wants the ball. Hackman’s character replies, “Winners always do.” Garoppolo wanted the ball this past Sunday because, following his fumble, he played great. In fact Garoppolo threw eight passes before his first incompletion. He finished the game completing 17 of 25 passes, 314 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 124.2.

A lot of Garoppolo’s success can be attributed to the offensive line. Last season, it seemed like whoever was under center had only one second to think. It was a different story on Sunday when, according to Pro Football Focus, the Lions defense had only six total pressures against Garoppolo. On one of those pressures, Garoppolo was able to deliver the ball and let his receiver make a play.

Despite what people have been saying, Garoppolo is not a bad quarterback. He is not a future Hall-of-Famer, but he deserves more credit than what people give him. All he has to do is makes plays and not turn the ball over. When that happens he can put up 41 points and come away with a win - despite the “quicksand” in the final two minutes of the game.

The fact the Lions almost came back and won the game was not on Garoppolo. It was one bad play after another by the entire team. However, Garoppolo did enough to put them in position that despite the attempted comeback the 49ers were too far ahead of the Lions.

“Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.”

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