With the New England Patriots eliminated from the playoffs, watching former players like Jimmy Garoppolo thrive is bittersweet.
In defeating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in the NFC Divisional round game, former New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers are a step closer to Super Bowl LIV behind strong defense and a power running game.
It’s how Tom Brady won his first three Super Bowls and how he won No. 6 just a season ago. It was also how he was supposed to win this season. However, the lack of a consistent running game and playmakers to get the ball to led to an early exit for the Patriots.
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In that respect, it is hard to see what Garoppolo is doing with the 49ers and be a bit jealous.
A dominate defense led by young stud Nick Bosa and an offense with playmakers like tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, along with a running game that racked up 186 yards on the ground against the Vikings is something to marvel at.
It is also hard not to recognize what the New England Patriots had in Jimmy Garoppolo as a successor to Tom Brady, especially with free agency or retirement looming for the latter.
In his playoff debut with the 49ers, Garoppolo came out very Brady-like, completing five of six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive. Although he finished the game with 131 yards, a TD and interception, Garoppolo had the luxury of leaning on a dominant running game and a stout defense much like Brady had with the Patriots in his first few seasons in the NFL which is what this comparison is based on.
While the goal was for Jimmy Garoppolo to be doing this with the New England Patriots, have to feel happy for how he has been able to bring his playoff and championship experience to a San Francisco team that will be relevant for quite a while.
To go against popular opinion that he wasn’t supportive of his former backup, Tom Brady had some praiseworthy words about Jimmy G prior to the 49ers’ Divisional round victory over the Vikings.
"“Jimmy’s done a great job for the Niners and they’re really playing well and Jimmy’s had a very good season,” Brady said during his interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One. “I was fortunate to play with Jimmy, and really enjoyed our time together and (watching) him develop from a rookie into a really terrific quarterback, and he’s certainly done that since coming to the Niners.”"
Jimmy Garoppolo has a very long way to go before he even comes close to the accomplishments of his mentor, but he is off to a good start leading the Niners to a playoff victory in his first full season with the team.
Eventually, he’ll have to win a game along the way with his arm and we know he has it in him. He has proven that ability with the New England Patriots during his short stint as a starter and he is certainly proving it now as the San Francisco 49ers roll on in the playoffs.