Before the Dallas Cowboys had their series of blunders that led to their demise against the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo had his opportunity to put the game away with under two minutes to play. Once Deebo Samuel was ruled just short of the first down marker at the Cowboys' 47-yard line with 1:21 to play and San Francisco up 23-17, the 49ers went for it on fourth-and-inches in an attempt to walk away with the win.
A quarterback sneak by Garoppolo would have done it, which is precisely what the 49ers did. Garoppolo got the first down, yet there was a pre-snap penalty prior to the conversion. The 49ers moved Trent Williams over to the right side of the line as an extra blocker, but Williams was called for a false start penalty. The 49ers had to move the ball back five yards and punted to the Cowboys with 40 seconds left, giving Dallas an opportunity to win the game.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan defended Garoppolo for his subpar second half, but wasn't letting his quarterback off the hook for failing to seal the win.
"We just shifted to an unbalanced," Shanahan said, via Kirk Larrabee of 49erswebzone.com. "It was on a silent count. It was quarterback sneak all the way, but Jimmy got real excited because of the look and didn't let Trent get set. He's got to let him get set. It ended up not being a problem though. I was going to struggle answering that though if we lost.
"But yeah, Jimmy's got to let him get set. Trent, it didn't look to me like he false started. He just didn't get in his stance yet."
Garoppolo admitted that's what happened, but appeared surprised Shanahan said that regarding the play. That was the third blunder by Garoppolo in the second half of that game. The first was failing to hit Brandon Aiyuk with the 49ers up 23-7 -- a play that would have went for at least 20 yards -- and the second was the interception to Anthony Brown that led to a Cowboys touchdown that cut the score to 23-17.
Garoppolo finished 16 of 25 for 172 yards with an interception in the win, yet Shanahan had to answer more questions about his performance. The 49ers did draft Trey Lance for a reason, but Garoppolo is the quarterback that has the franchise in the divisional round of the playoffs for the second time in three years.
"I thought he played real good in the first half," Shanahan said. "I thought he made some real good plays in the second half too, but obviously that pick he'd like to have back and that one missed third down."