After the Patriots win over the Bills on Sunday, the eyes in Patriots Nation turned to the Jaguars vs. 49ers game. This was significant for the Patriots as the Jaguars were still a threat to earn a first round bye over the Pats in the playoffs. On top of that, Jimmy Garoppolo was going against the #1 defense in the NFL. Going into this game, Garoppolo had a led a team that started the season 1-10 to three consecutive victories. Surely, it was going to end here as the Jaguars swarming defense had a huge game with playoff implications and they were going to roll over Jimmy G. as they did with just about every other QB in the league.
Garoppolo threw for 242 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) to lead the 49ers to a 44-33 victory. He did it…again. Garoppolo is now 4-0 for a team that started the year 1-10 and 6-0 in his first 6 career games. For his career, Garoppolo has a 68.2% completion %, 10 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He’s also the first quarterback in 49ers history to throw for 290+ yards in his first three games. This is a team that once had Steve Young and Joe Montana leading it. Most fans who followed the Patriots had a feeling that Garoppolo could play, but did anyone expect this?!
So now the #2 NFL story in New England yesterday is how Jimmy Garoppolo helped the Patriots earn a first round bye. Bill Belichick did it again. Even when he trades someone, he STILL finds a way to help his own team, RIGHT?
For starters, the second round pick that the Patriots received for Jimmy G. is dropping down week after week. What looked to be the equivalent of a late first round pick is now going to be with a team shooting for six wins next week. More importantly, it’s looking more and more like the Patriots gave up not just the quality NFL starting QB most of Patriots Nation thought was being moved, but a superstar for the next 10+ years in the league.
No quarterback in the league other than DeShaun Watson has been more impressive than Garoppolo in his first six career games. Not Jared Goff. Not Carson Wentz. Not Aaron Rodgers. Not even Tom Brady.
Last four games:
Player 1: 68.3% completion %, 1,250 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT, 96.2 QB Rating
Player 2: 64.7% completion %, 1,013 yards, 4 TD, 5 INT, 81.5 QB Rating
Player 1 just played games three through six of his NFL career and would be on pace to throw for 5,000 yards in his first full season. He’s 25 years old.
Player 2 has won five Super Bowls and many argue is the greatest quarterback of all time. He turned 40 in August and has looked like a 40 year-old quarterback for the past month.
Here’s an important question for Patriots Nation right now.
If you could do it all over again would you STILL trade Garoppolo? Better yet, would the Patriots still trade him?
We all know that, at the time, no one expected this. Except maybe Bill Belichick…and, perhaps, this was not his call.
One thing we all know is this. Boston sports fans don’t typically respond well to trading elite talent when they haven’t even hit their primes yet. See Joe Thornton, Tyler Seguin, and Jeff Bagwell.
Thank you, Jimmy? Time will tell how long that lasts.