By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Everybody loves Jimmy Garoppolo.
That’s at least the takeaway on Thursday, after a mic’d up video of the 49ers’ quarterback has torn up the internet.
The video — from “NFL Turning Point” — captured how well Garoppolo remained in command of the 49ers’ offense during their come-from-behind victory in the final minute against the Titans.
What shone through the most was how calm and posed Garoppolo remained, and how prepared he was for the moment. That moment involved leading his offense to a game-winning field goal after the Titans had taken a one-point lead on field goal of their own with 1:07 remaining.
Garoppolo checks to make sure he knows which yard line the offense needs to reach in order to get into Robbie Gould’s field-goal range.
On the sideline after what was a deflating go-ahead field goal for the Titans, Garoppolo encouraged his teammates to answer with a drive of their own.
“Big-time drive now, huh?” he said. “Let’s go execute. Talk to each other, go execute. Every play.”
In the huddle, Garoppolo said: “Hey, listen up. Far from over. Keep stringing them together, fellas. One play after another. Let’s go finish this one.”
Garoppolo then reeled off three straight completions, totaling 45 yards and getting the Niners into field-goal range. A composed Garoppolo hurried to the line at 17 seconds to spike the ball, allowing San Francisco to save its final timeout. Saving that timeout allowed Carlos Hyde to rush the ball three yards closer, and Gould nailed the 45-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.
If Garoppolo looked supremely prepared on that drive, it’s because he was. Presumably on the Titans’ scoring drive, Garoppolo was seen asking a coach to run him through each of the calls that would come up in the two-minute drill.
He advised Trent Taylor: “Keep running good routes, they can’t handle your quickness. They’re trying to grab you. Just hit ’em off you and you’ll ”
Garoppolo then completed a 7-yard pass to Taylor on the first play of the winning drive.
He told George Kittle exactly how to run his route: “Slip him and look [at me] as you’re slipping him, because I’ll bang it on you. Because he has to turn his hips. The safeties are so deep, though, you’re going to get another 10, 12 yards.”
Garoppolo then completed that pass to Kittle on the second play of the drive, and Kittle ran for an extra 10 yards after making the catch in front of the deep safeties.
Garoppolo told Marquise Goodwin: “I’ll bend you across a little bit. If he’s playing on top of you though, you could do one of these [steps] and then go. Just feel it out. Be a football player.”
On the third play of the drive, Garoppolo went to Goodwin, who caught pass in stride and picked up 14 yards.
Earlier in the week, Brian Baldinger had a great breakdown of this particular pass:
Spliced in between the highlights are cuts of Garoppolo speaking postgame, where he continued to prove to have been a good student of Tom Brady from their time together in New England.
“Two-minute drill comes down to execution at the end of the day,” he told the media. “All the excitement’s going on, and you just have to stay cool and go execute.”
The video’s spread quite a bit, particularly in New England, where fans watched Garoppolo grow as a professional over the last three years. It’s leading to some fans questioning how and why the Patriots possibly gave up such a rare generational talent … which is no doubt a massive overreaction to one winning drive at home against the Tennessee Titans. The Patriots definitely didn’t trade Garoppolo at a time when they could receive the most value in return, but they also employed him as a more-than-capable backup quarterback for a 40-year-old in a very violent and vicious league where injuries happen every weekend.
Nevertheless, the attributes clearly on display in that video provide a firm basis for anyone who wants to believe Garoppolo may well become a top quarterback in the NFL. He has the arm talent, but so does every quarterback in the league. It was the command and control of the offense and the situation that really stood out throughout the course of the video, and it’s likely not a coincidence that he spent the last three seasons learning from Brady.
And considering Garoppolo’s stoic comeback took place almost simultaneously with a Hall of Fame quarterback melting down and losing a game in his own stadium on the other side of the country, the performance speaks to the difficulty of executing in a moment like that.