• Akash Anavarathan

Anavarathan: Kyle Shanahan's play-calling validates his trust in Jimmy Garoppolo

NFL Analyst Bucky Brooks made headlines for his criticism of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this past week. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, as every major national analyst has taken a shot at San Francisco's franchise quarterback after his uneven performance in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.


Brooks joined 95.7 The Game, and here were his full remarks:

If Pat Mahomes was the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, do you think Kyle Shanahan would settle? So that's what I'm saying. So just use your eyes and connect the dots. It's a trust factor that a coach has with a quarterback. If he truly believes in the quarterback, he gives him the ball and says, 'Hey, go win.' Because he didn't play like that in the playoffs, he is letting the football world know we're going to play around our quarterback because I don't fully trust him."

In a vaccuum, it's an extremely popular statement to make after Garoppolo only attempted eight passes in the NFC Championship Game and then had a two-interception performance in the sport's biggest stage, while overthrowing a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders late in the game.


Evaluating quarterbacks is difficult, it requires complete analysis of the player's statistics throughout the season -- not just cherry-picking a particular game or quarter to fit a pre-determined narrative.


I decided that I wanted to look at how Kyle Shanahan's play-calling changed after a Jimmy Garoppolo turnover. If Shanahan truly did not trust his franchise signal-caller, he would pull the reigns away Garoppolo after an interception or fumble.


The former Eastern Illinois quarterback had 21 total turnovers on the season, 16 interceptions and five lost fumbles. I looked up every 49ers' offensive drive following a turnover to analyze the break-down between passing and rushing attempts, the percentage of drives that end in a score and Garoppolo's yards per attempt after a turnover.

While the full data's shown above, here are the important factors to take away:


  • The 49ers pass on 53 percent of plays following a turnover

  • San Francisco scores a touchdown or field goal 50 percent of the time following a turnover

  • Jimmy Garoppolo's yards per attempt increases from 8.4 to 9.4 on drives following a turnover


The facts show that Shanahan doesn't waiver in his trust of Jimmy Garoppolo and that's proven through his play-calling in drives after a Garoppolo mistake.


It's easy to nitpick and find certain situations where the 49ers offense was conservative (like the end of the first half in the Super Bowl), but if the numbers are presented from 19 weeks of the season, it's evident that Shanahan isn't hesitant in his play-calling with his quarterback.


(Cover Photo: Rick Scuteri, Associated Press)

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