Los Angeles – Just two years ago, the San Francisco 49ers were playing in Super Bowl LIV. Tonight they watched the Los Angeles Rams celebrate after defeating them 20-17 in the NFC Championship game.
Jimmy Garoppolo spent the past two seasons battling injuries and this year was not much different. Except this season he fought through it, to lead his team to the playoffs. However, tonight’s ending was not scripted they way he wanted.
After Matt Gay kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the Rams a 20-17 lead, the 49ers had 1:46 left in the game to make something happen. In the final minutes, Garoppolo was smothered by LA’s defense, unable to move the ball he desperately thew it to JaMycal Hasty.
Hasty didn’t have control of the ball and it landed in the hands of Rams linebacker Travin Howard. The sold out crowd erupted as well as LA’s sideline. It was over! Garoppolo’s one mistake punched the Rams ticket to Super Bowl LVI to face the Cincinnati Bengals.
Garoppolo talked about the team and his future after the game:
Garoppolo finished 16-for-30 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. San Francisco scored twice in the second, Garoppolo made a short pass to Deebo Samuel for the 44-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal to end the half 10-7. To start the third, Garoppolo connected with George Kittle for a 16-yard touchdown to make it a 17-7 game.
But that was it for the 49ers, they never scored again. It was all the Rams from there, Matthew Stafford went 31-for-45 for 337 yards that included two touchdowns and one interception. Stafford’s guy was Cooper Kupp all night! Kupp had 14 carries for 142 yards and scored the only two touchdowns of the game. Gay kicked two field goals for 40 and 30 yards.
“I’m so proud of those guys,” said Kyle Shanahan. “I love this team. Every year is a different team, this is as cool of a team I’ve ever been part of. We came up short today and that’s part of sports and part of life and you’ve got to deal with it. Obviously, those guys are hurting now, they’ll rebound and be stronger for it.”
Jimmy Ward notched 8 tackles and one interception, marking his first career postseason interception. San Francisco’s offensive line did not allow a sack for the 2nd time this postseason (at Dal 1/16/22). It marks the first time a team has allowed 0 sacks in 2-or-more postseason games.
Jimmie Ward talked to the press after the game:
Deebo Samuel registered 4 receptions for a postseason career-high 72 yards and 1 touchdown on the night, including a postseason career long 44-yard reception. He also added 7 rushing attempts for 26 yards on the ground. Samuel became the first member of the 49ers to lead the team in both rushing and receiving yards since running back Ricky Waters did so 1/15/94 vs the New York Giants (NFC-D).
Nick Bosa registered 6 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the night. He now has 8.0 sacks in the 6 games of his postseason career, including at least 0.5 in each. Bosa’s 8.0 postseason sacks are the most in a postseason franchise history.
As we head into the offseason, the future of Garoppolo returning to the 49ers is uncertain. But Garoppolo plans on returning healthier than ever and hopes to get surgery on his thumb that had bothered him much of the season. When asked about his future with the team, he simply responded:
“I’ve got no regrets from this year.”
Photo by Julian Del Gaudio/Fox 5 San Diego