Jeff Garcia took the road less traveled to the NFL before finding himself atop 49ers record books. After going undrafted out of San Jose State University, the quarterback who was considered too small had to become a star in the Canadian Football League before getting a shot from the 49ers in 1999.
Throughout his NFL career, Garcia dealt with the naysayers. He always found ways to quiet his critics, however, becoming a four-time Pro Bowl QB. Year later, he's watching Jimmy Garoppolo hush his haters while leading the 49ers.
"I mean, you have three division leaders who you're going up against, and you're balling," Garcia said to NBC Sports Bay Area when asked about Garoppolo's performance in the 49ers' 48-46 win on Sunday over the Saints. "You're doing what you need to do to stay in the game, to give your team a chance to win the game.
"People who don't know the quarterback position are going to constantly question it."
The past three weeks, the 49ers have faced three division leaders in the Packers (NFC North), Ravens (AFC North) and Saints (NFC South). San Francisco went 2-1 in those three tough contests after Sunday's last-second win, and Garoppolo has continued to look impressive.
Sunday might have been Jimmy G's best game since the 49ers acquired him in 2017. He completed 26 of his 35 pass attempts for 349 yards, four touchdowns and one interception that bounced off wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' hands. The last three weeks, he has completed 72.4 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and one interception.
"His overall play the last few weeks has been impressive," Garcia said. "I think he's really beginning to show a command of the offense -- excellent decision making, accuracy, getting the ball out on time, giving his players opportunities to make plays."
Garcia says you can see Garoppolo's confidence growing as he grasps Kyle Shanahan's complex offense, and has a full, healthy season in the system. He also pointed to the 49ers now having a set trio of receivers with veteran Sanders, rookie Deebo Samuel and second-year pro Kendrick Bourne.
Garoppolo joined Garcia and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks in 49ers history to have at least three games of four passing touchdowns in a single season, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Garcia last accomplished the feat in 2000, nearly two decades ago.
"They're really starting to gel from an offensive standpoint with what [Garoppolo's] doing at quarterback," Garcia said. "For me to be among those stat lines ... we were definitely clicking on all cylinders, and you can't do it alone. Obviously it's everybody standing up and doing their job. Offensive line doing a great job protection wise. You need everybody to step up when you have games like that, four-touchdown type games.
"Everybody is stepping up and being a playmaker, and you're just giving them the opportunity to make a play."
Garcia enjoyed his first Pro Bowl season 19 years ago when he became San Francisco's full-time starting QB. He was balling then, just like Jimmy G is now.
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo 'balling' to quiet critics, Jeff Garcia says originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area