Patrick Daugherty

The Morning After

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Garoppolo's Promising Sunday

Monday, December 4, 2017


The 49ers entered Week 13 with two road wins since Jim Harbaugh was fired following the 2014 season. Making his first start for his new team, Jimmy Garoppolo led them to No. 3.


What Garoppolo did not do was throw a touchdown. The 49ers settled for five goals in their 15-14 victory. It didn’t matter. Just 34 days into his education of Kyle Shanahan’s byzantine offense, Garoppolo showcased why the 49ers were willing to surrender a second-round pick in the middle of a lost season, and why other teams are going to regret not offering more.


Garoppolo basically could not have offered up a more reassuring performance to the 49ers brass who made the daring in-season move. A picture of calm, Garoppolo excelled both in the pocket and on play action. He was not afraid to pull the trigger on difficult passes, more than once targeting pedestrian or unproven talents like Louis Murphy and Trent Taylor in tight spaces.


Most of all, Garoppolo Got. The. Ball. Out. Quickly. He might have the fastest release in all of football. When Garoppolo decided to throw, the pass was immediately upon his intended target. This is important for a variety of reasons. Garoppolo can unload the ball before pressure gets home, and get it to his pass catchers before the defense can react. It had to be why he was comfortable targeting players he just met a month ago in the tightest of spaces on the road.     


It’s important to keep perspective. This was one game against the Chicago Bears, a team that’s laughably been the victim for the 49ers’ only two wins outside the state of California since Harbaugh was sent packing. But it was also a Bears defense that entered Week 13 allowing just 216 passing yards per game, and the eighth fewest quarterback fantasy points. Garoppolo completed 70.2 percent of his throws, and averaged 7.91 yards per attempt.


There will be stiffer tests, namely the Jaguars in Week 16. Garoppolo gets two showcase games before that, the Texans this upcoming Sunday and the Titans the week after. If his performance at Soldier Field was any indication, he’s going to put on a show, and justify the 49ers’ bold deadline decision.      


Five Week 13 Storylines


Rob Gronkowski has huge game, but risks suspension with cheap shot of Tre'Davious White. Gronk has made a habit of smashing in his hometown of Buffalo. Sunday was no different, as he abused coach Sean McDermott’s defense for nine grabs and 147 yards, both new season highs. It was his most prolific performance since last October. So it’s a pity he had to go and mar it with something completely out of character. Gronk has earned his fun-loving reputation, avoiding feuds and clichés as he’s built his Hall-of-Fame résumé. He’s been a Good Guy. His hit on White was not something a Good Guy does. The intended target on White’s interception of Tom Brady, Gronk was incensed after believing White got away with a penalty. He retaliated by blindsiding an unsuspecting White from behind as he lay on the ground. The result was a concussion, the worst of outcomes. Gronk is at serious risk of being suspended for next Monday's dream matchup with the Dolphins in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Frankly, he deserves it.    


Josh Gordon comes back from the dead with 4/85. It had been three Decembers since Gordon’s last appearance on a regular season field. It would be terribly cliché to say it looked like he was never gone, so we’ll stick with … he was certainly there. Gordon’s presence was the takeaway. Over the middle, down the sideline, after the catch. The Browns forced the issue, funneling 11 targets their erstwhile WR1’s way. He somehow managed to play 48-of-63 snaps, many of them lined up on lockdown CB Casey Hayward. Gordon ended up being just the second wide receiver all season to clear 85 yards against the Bolts. Back in the fire, Gordon could really get hot in an attackable Week 14 matchup with the Packers.        


Tyrod Taylor injures ankle then knee against the Patriots. Taylor tweaked his ankle on the first play from scrimmage. He battled through it for three quarters before coming down with a knee injury, an issue that required a cart to the locker room. Taylor was despondent, in near tears before draping a towel over his face for the long ride down the tunnel. It seemed like a sad end to not only a crazy season, but crazy Bills tenure. Then he got good news, apparently avoiding major injury. A Monday MRI will tell the final story, but the initial bullet has been dodged. It might still not be enough to save Taylor’s 2017 job. He’s unlikely to be healthy enough for Week 14. Even if he is, coach Sean McDermott is probably ready to go with rookie Nathan Peterman again after Taylor looked dreadful against the Pats before going down. If Taylor both gets cleared and keeps starting duties, he’ll have a delectable Week 14 matchup in the Colts.   


Matthew Stafford bruises throwing hand. On Thanksgiving, Stafford got his ankle twisted up. 10 days later, it was his $135 million right hand. Stafford departed with 6:16 remaining, watching a 30-20 deficit turn into a 44-20 blowout loss. Backup Jake Rudock threw a pick six on his first series. The afternoon had an “all is lost” feel for the Lions before Stafford was revealed to have escaped with only a contusion. With swelling and bruising, it will probably still be a tricky matter for Week 14, but it’s hard to imagine Stafford won’t be out there as the 6-6 Lions play for their season against the Bucs. An underrated warrior, Stafford played through a broken right finger in 2016.  


Josh McCown does it again in unsung 2017. We are 75 percent of the way through the season and McCown has more fantasy points than all but seven quarterbacks. Although 38 and a 16-year veteran, McCown had never really had what could be considered a “career year.” That’s what happens when you bounce around and make more than 10 starts only twice. He’s having it now, keeping the unlikely Jets in the mix for a .500 campaign. Unsigned for 2018, don’t be surprised if McCown is invited back to East Rutherford, though perhaps as a No. 2.  


Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.



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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty



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