The San Francisco 49ers crushed the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game yesterday, and did so in a very unconventional way. After having QB Jimmy Garoppolo drop back for only eight passes, head coach Kyle Shanahan explained why he kept the gameplan as it was.
Per 49ers beat writer Eric Branch, Shanahan was asked why the team ran the ball 42 times versus only 8 dropbacks. His explanation was simple:
“Because it was working.”
That might even be an understatement.
49ers running back Raheem Mostert set all kinds of records in the NFC Championship Game. He finished with 29 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns.
Kyle Shanahan on why #49ers had 42 runs and eight passes: “Because it was working.”
— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) January 20, 2020
But Shanahan’s decision to keep the ball out of Garoppolo’s hands certainly doesn’t stem from any problems with his QB. Some teams have made the playoffs in spite of their QB, not because of one.
The 49ers aren’t one of those teams.
In the regular season, Garoppolo finally played in all 16 games for the first time in his career. He went on to complete 69.1-percent of his passes for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns – all career-highs.
But so far in the postseason, Garoppolo hasn’t really needed to throw the ball thanks to the 49ers’ dominating defense and running game. We’ll see if that playing style gets the job done against the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.