Take away the fourth quarter from Super Bowl LIV, and Jimmy Garoppolo's quarterback evaluation around the league has a much different outlook. First and foremost, Garoppolo is likely a Super Bowl champion and he and head coach Kyle Shanahan are potentially being discussed as the next quarterback/coach dynasty -- right with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Instead the pressure is on Garoppolo to repeat the success and eliminate the failure for finishing the job in 2019.
"Having my first full season under my belt, coming off the ACL and everything that went into that season, it will only help me going forward," Garoppolo said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. "I think in terms of being a quarterback, I still have a long way to go. I'm still relatively young for a quarterback, just in terms of playing time."
Garoppolo has been pretty good for the 49ers since becoming the starting quarterback in 2017, making the trade of a second-round pick to acquire Garoppolo one of the better deals in recent 49ers history. In his first full season as the 49ers starting quarterback, Garoppolo started all 16 games and completed 69.1% of his passes for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 102.0 passer rating.
All Garoppolo has done under Shanahan is complete 67.6% of his passes with 39 touchdowns to 21 interceptions and a 99.2 passer rating. Garoppolo has been criticized for being a game manager, but the 49ers finished third in completion rate (68.81%) and yards per pass (7.9 last season). San Francisco is 19-5 in Garoppolo's 24 regular season starts.
His fourth-quarter performance in Super Bowl LIV was an anomaly rather than an indictment of his play. The 49ers were outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV after entering the final quarter with a 10-point lead. Garoppolo finished 20 of 31 for 219 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss, but he was just 3 of 11 for 36 yards and an interception in the final frame (2.8 passer rating). The key miss was an incompletion to a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on an X-post that would have given San Francisco the lead with 1:49 to play.
"I thought it was a productive year," Garoppolo said. "Obviously, it didn't finish the way we wanted it to. But I think there were a lot of things that went well for us.
"I was pretty happy with everything, how it went. Like I said, we just want the last game of the season to turn out a little differently."
The 49ers' success hinges on Garoppolo's ability to repeat his 2019 performance, but this time he needs to finish the job. A big challenge for a player who has plenty to prove in 2020.