In only his 3rd start for the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garapolo tossed for 334 yards and a touchdown to lead the 49ers to a 26-16 comeback victory over the Houston Texans and their 2nd win in as many weeks.
Garapolo instilled more confidence not just within the organization that traded for him earlier this season, but in the locker room and in the stands with the victory.
While Garapolo and the 49ers missed some big opportunities to gash the Texans in the first half, the 49ers got hot at the right time following a 6 play 75 yard drive by TJ Yates and the Texans to start the 2nd half.
Trailing 16-13 in the 3rd quarter, Garapolo engineered an 11 play 68 yard drive that ended in a field goal, tying the game at 16. Following a Texans punt, Garapolo and the 49ers put together a 6 play 85 yard drive, including a big 61 yard reception by Celek on a 3rd and 6.
Celek would later be rewarded on the drive as Garapolo found him in the end zone to put the 49ers ahead for good.
Following the game, Garapolo said while he’s only been with San Francisco a short while, their recent success is based in the preparation.
“There’s little things that go into winning. Putting in the extra time in the film room, on the field whatever it may be. I remember as a rookie, you don’t know some of those things and you kind of have to see the older guys do it and you kind of follow them as they go. Its a learning process but were going in the right direction, we just have to keep working everyday”.
Garapolo witnessed plenty of winning and the unmatched level of preparation for nearly there and half years while backing up Tom Brady in New England.
That kind of tutelage is priceless and it’s paying off for the 49ers, who now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tight end Garett Celek, who caught two balls on the day and scored the 49ers go ahead touchdown says their new quarterback has sparked them of late.
“Jimmy is playing great, he’s playing awesome. I think our vibe has changed the past couple of games, and you can just see it. We’re all playing better”.
That sentiment of togetherness, chemistry building and trust was echoed throughout the 49ers locker room Sunday afternoon.
For first year head coach Kyle Shanahan to have the young locker room he has (only 5 players with 9 plus years experience in the league), for a seemingly unproven quarterback to command the respect and ability to instill the confidence in players that Garapolo does is special, and the 49er head coach believes guys are feeding off of his new young quarterback.
“When you got a guy like Jimmy who has been making some impressive throws, whose been doing it one the practice field and has carried to the game, I think guys always know they’ve got a chance and they lived up to it”.
The 49ers, improved to 3-10 on the season, and while this season won’t end in a playoff run, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers hope what Garapolo and this young core of talent is building this season, pays off in the coming years.