Jimmy Garoppolo will be 49ers' NFL playoff 'weak link,' Nick Wright claims

Nick Wright: Jimmy G will be 49ers' 'weak link' in playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers have been touted by NFL pundits as a Super Bowl-caliber team for months now, even before they acquired All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.

But “First Things First” co-host Nick Wright believes there’s one player who will hold San Francisco back in its pursuit of a sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“When Jimmy G doesn’t make mistakes, this is now an idiot-proof team,” Wright said Monday on the Fox Sports 1 show. “The problem is, even idiot-proofing sometimes doesn’t work when Jimmy G is your quarterback.”

Wright himself picked the 49ers to go to the Super Bowl before the 2022 season's start -- but he made the prediction when Trey Lance was the team’s starting quarterback. Now, with Lance out for the season with a broken ankle, veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is back under center for the 49ers.

And Wright thinks that’s concerning, mainly because of Garoppolo's tendency to throw the football to the other team.

“Even yesterday [Sunday’s 49ers-Los Angeles Rams game], he tried to give Jalen Ramsey two [potential interceptions]… It happens all the time with Jimmy G as your quarterback,” Wright said.

While near-picks aren’t counted on the stat sheet, Garoppolo has thrown interceptions in three games this season.

Garoppolo didn’t play in the season opener and missed most of the first quarter before coming in for Lance in Week 2, but notable quarterbacks with more games throwing a pick include Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen, with four apiece.

The 49ers quarterback has thrown four interceptions on the season, tying him at No. 21 among all NFL quarterbacks. Matt Ryan leads the league with nine.

But even with the All-Pro talent on offense around Garoppolo, like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams and newcomer McCaffrey, Wright said he doesn’t think the 30-year-old can stack up to other signal-callers in the NFC like Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins and maybe even Geno Smith.

“The question is, ‘Will the quarterback kneecap the 49ers?’ ” Wright said. “... Jimmy G is in the group with Daniel Jones and Marcus Mariota. Quarterbacks who might make the playoffs? And if they do, they will be their team’s weak link.”

Wright’s argument doesn’t come completely without merit; the 49ers did try to move on from Garoppolo this offseason after drafting Lance in 2021. But their longtime starter ended up on the 2022 roster after taking a pay cut in an unexpected turn of events.

It’s fortunate for San Francisco that things worked out the way they did, however, as the team had a capable veteran able to step right into things when Lance went down. In fact, the 49ers’ Super Bowl odds actually increased once Garoppolo became QB1 again.

And in Sunday's 31-14 win over the Rams, Garoppolo played his best game of the season. He was 21-of-25 passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns (to All-Pros Kittle and McCaffrey), earning his highest passer rating of the season (132.5).

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But with two playoff runs in the last three seasons ending in defeat for Garoppolo-led 49ers teams, could this season really be any different?

Weak link or not, the current roster certainly has the potential to prove any doubters wrong.

And maybe Garoppolo will, too.

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