Last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took just three plays to do what the Niners failed to do in the first 59 minutes of the game — score a touchdown. We break down Garoppolo’s first TD pass with his new team.
You couldn’t write a better storybook beginning to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s debut with his new team. Playing in relief of C.J. Beathard, who was injured in the closing seconds of the game, Garoppolo faced a fourth-and-five, deep in Seattle Seahawks territory. In three plays, Garoppolo scrambled for a first down (which the referees erroneously marked short of the sticks), converted a fourth down on a quick pass, and then threw a touchdown pass as time expired.
For the past two weeks, we’ve reviewed Garoppolo’s game film from his two 2016 starts with the New England Patriots. Now, let’s take a look at the Garoppolo’s first touchdown pass in a 49ers uniform.
The 49ers have a first-and-10 on Seattle’s 10-yard line after wide receiver Aldrick Robinson’s fourth-down completion. With 12 seconds remaining — and the 49ers out of timeouts — Garoppolo looks to the 49ers sideline, requesting to spike the ball to stop the clock. Head coach Kyle Shanahan motions for Garoppolo to instead call a play from the line. After Garoppolo communicates the play to his teammates, the 49ers hike the ball with 5 seconds remaining on the clock.
The 49ers have 11 personnel in a balanced formation, with Garoppolo in the shotgun. The Seahawks are in nickel personnel, in a two-deep look:
The 49ers are running a slant-flat concept on the short side of the field, and double slants on the wide side. These are concepts can be effective against both Cover-2 and 2-Man, but usually from shorter distances. They are also basic concepts that Garoppolo is extremely familiar with:
The Seahawks are in Cover-2, which they often run in the red zone:
The ball is snapped, and Garoppolo looks to his right. With boundary cornerback Neiko Thorpe staying home, Garoppolo sees that a throw to the flat will be well short of the end zone:
Seahawks linebacker Terence Garvin is also sitting back, giving Garoppolo the short pass to wide receiver Louis Murphy, but Garoppolo is smart to hold onto the ball:
Garoppolo looks to tight end Garrett Celek, who is standing on the 5-yard line. The QB won’t throw the pass to Celek, but the look in his direction will become a pivotal factor in the play, as both linebackers will follow the quarterback’s eyes and move toward the tight end:
Garoppolo feels pressure behind him from defensive end Frank Clark, and is forced to exit the pocket:
With their wide receivers attempting to extend the play, the 49ers have a logjam in the middle of the field. Thanks to linebacker Michael Wilhoite vacating the front of the end zone, Trent Taylor and Murphy have the room needed to avoid each other, as Murphy continues his route to the wide side of the field:
Free safety Bradley McDougald slips when he attempts to change direction — leaving Taylor open — but Garoppolo was forced to scramble in the opposite direction:
Murphy finds open space in the zone, and signals that he’s open. Garoppolo sees him, and decides to make the throw:
Cornerback Byron Maxwell leaves Robinson for Murphy as he sees Garoppolo ready himself for the pass. Garoppolo will need to put the ball over the reach of corner Justin Coleman, and in front of Maxwell, to allow Murphy the opportunity to make a play:
Garoppolo uses the perfect amount of touch, as the ball passes over Coleman’s outstretched arm, and into the hands of the 49ers receiver:
Maxwell gets a hand on the ball, but Murphy uses his strength to come down with the touchdown pass:
Garoppolo didn’t waste any time, throwing one of the best passes by a 49ers quarterback this season:
Fans hope this touchdown pass will be the first of many by Garoppolo in a San Francisco 49ers jersey.