49ers overreactions: Has Jimmy Garoppolo saved team's 2022 NFL season?

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49ers overreactions: Where would team be without Jimmy G? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Four-game winning streaks are not necessarily great for those in the overreactions business.

But fans of the 49ers certainly are not complaining. (Well, they're complaining a lot less these days, anyway.)

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo certainly is not prolific, but he is efficient. He is playing the best football of his career, and his future continues to be a topic of conversation for all but himself.

"I'll worry about [the future] at the end of the year," Garoppolo said last week.

Where would the 49ers be right now without Garoppolo? We can tell you where they've been with him. The 49ers are 41-19, including the postseason, when Garoppolo has been in the starting lineup since his arrival in a 2017 trade from New England.

That's a good place to start this edition of 49ers overreactions ...

"Jimmy G is our 49ers savior because if Lance didn’t get injured and he started we wouldn’t be a playoff team or contender we would have a losing record." (IG: romiregandhi)

Overreaction? No and yes.

Jimmy Garoppolo has helped save the 49ers’ season.

The 49ers went all-in on Trey Lance after the 2021 season as they tried to trade Garoppolo to the highest bidder. One 49ers source told NBC Sports Bay Area they were expecting to receive two first-round draft picks in exchange for Garoppolo.

That seems like a high price. The 49ers likely would have dealt Garoppolo to the highest bidder. But he required shoulder surgery a week before the opening of the NFL trading period, and any interested team(s) backed off entirely.

After Lance sustained a season-ending injury in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Garoppolo returned to his former role as the team’s starter.

Now, Garoppolo is playing the best football of his career, and the 49ers are 7-4 and in solid position to earn a spot in the NFC playoffs.

Would they have a losing record with Lance at quarterback? We do not think so, but your guess is as good as ours.

"We wouldn’t be 7-4 with QB1. Experience counts." (IG: y0itst__)

Overreaction? No.

Of course, experience matters -- especially at the most-important position in all of sports.

Lance was one of five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. And it has been a struggle for each of them.

Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick, had the best game of his career on Sunday, as he engineered an upset to the Baltimore Ravens. It was the first time in his career that he threw for more than 265 yards with at least one touchdown pass and no interceptions.

Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, has been so bad -- and lacking so much in leadership -- that New York Jets coach Robert Saleh benched him.

Justin Fields, whom the Chicago Bears at No. 11, has proved to be more of a running back than a quarterback.

The New England Patriots selected Mac Jones with the 15th pick. He has been up and down, but is coming off two very good games.

We think the 49ers would have defeated the Denver Broncos in Week 3 with a healthy Lance, rather than Garoppolo stepping in and looking completely unprepared.

After that, who knows?

What Garoppolo does so well is that he hits receivers in stride on underneath passes, which allows them to turn upfield and make big yards after the catch. That is not Lance’s strength. His best attributes are his running and deep passing.

Could the 49ers still be 7-4 if Lance had started all 11 games? Sure, but you can be sure there would have been a lot more ups-and-downs with him learning on the job.

"For as good as the 49ers defense looks, the KC Chiefs would have scored at least 14 pts on the niners Sunday." (IG: Fasteddy25)

Overreaction? No.

With Jimmie Ward getting acclimated at nickel back and Deommodore Lenoir settling in at cornerback opposite of Charvarius Ward, the 49ers’ defense would have put up a better fight than it did in in a 44-23 loss to Kansas City in Week 7.

In the second half on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints had a missed field goal after driving as deep as the 49ers’ 23-yard line. The 49ers stopped the Saints on their next two drives at the goal line and 4-yard line.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to believe the 49ers would have shut out the high-powered Chiefs on Sunday.

But that is completely irrelevant.

They were not playing Kansas City; they were playing the Saints.

"If the 9ers continue to play defense at this level we are unbeatable, even with a slow offense." (IG: slothking99)

Overreaction? Yes.

The 49ers have won four consecutive games, sure.

As noted above, the 49ers’ shut out was impressive. But the New Orleans’ offense is not exactly a freight train, either.

The 49ers benefited from a missed field goal, and they came up with two fourth-quarter stops inside their own 5-yard line.

Also, the Saints were not pleased with two critical calls that went against them: A challenge overturned a 30-yard pass completion, and a penalty wiped out an interception and long return.

So even in a 13-0 victory, you can see how quickly that game could have been flipped into a 49ers loss.

The 49ers will not become “unbeatable” unless the defense continues to play at a high level and the offense shows more explosiveness and consistency.

If the offense fails to produce touchdowns down the stretch of the season and into January, the team will be heading to their offseason homes sooner than later -- regardless of how well the defense is playing.

"I just know that if they win the SB (still a long way to go) it will be the greatest Cinderella story for #10." (IG: jaimecases)

Overreaction? No.

We’re certainly getting ahead of ourselves. But it already has been a wild story for Garoppolo.

Just two days after the 49ers’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Garoppolo said goodbye.

“It’s been a hell of a ride, guys,” he said before his video feed cut out on a Zoom conference with reporters.

Garoppolo did not go anywhere. He remained as the backup. Then, once again, he became the starter.

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And, now, he appears destined to be the quarterback of a playoff team.

Garoppolo has handled himself with aplomb every step of the way, which is why he is so popular within the organization and adored by the fan base.

The only part of the story that remains is finding out whether the slipper fits.

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