MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Jimmy Garoppolo is not that guy.
Not Joe Montana, not Tom Brady, not Steve Young. And certainly not Patrick Mahomes.
The 49ers quarterback – whose “GQ looks” was one of the most hyped storylines in the buildup to Super Bowl LIV – had an opportunity to make his mark as a clutch performer on football’s biggest stage.
And this did not turn out well.
Garoppolo couldn’t raise his game – or his team’s game – when the 49ers needed him the most en route to falling 31-20 to the Chiefs.
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Instead, the 49ers got a major meltdown from the former Tom Brady backup, the highest-paid player in Super Bowl LIV with a five-year contract worth $137.5 million.
The back-breaker came on a fourth-and-10 with about 90 seconds left when Garoppolo held onto the football as the pocket collapsed. The Chiefs; Frank Clark bear-hugged him for a 9-yard sack as Garoppolo desperately tried to fling the football to…Anywhere. The ball landed near a scrum of linemen.
It didn’t matter. The play was already dead and so were the 49ers.
After that, Garoppolo was intercepted on his final throw in a Super Bowl that will be remembered for Mahomes leading the Chiefs to the fourth-quarter comeback.
Way before that, near the end of the first half, it appeared 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t trust Garoppolo. The 49ers had all three timeouts remaining after stopping the Chiefs short of a first down on third-and-long, but Shanahan allowed nearly 40 seconds to elapse.
When the 49ers started a new drive after a touchback on a Kansas City punt, just 59 seconds remained in the half. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the quarterback.
Then there was another fourth-quarter sequence, when the 49ers, leading 20-17, faced a third-and-five from their 25 with about 5 ½ minutes to play. The 49ers needed a touchdown to push ahead by two scores again. They needed a long drive to run off some clock. But first they needed a big third-down throw to move the chains.
They got none of the above. Garoppolo’s throw to Kendrick Bourne was incomplete, setting the stage for another Mahomes-led comeback win.
No, Garoppolo – who passed for 219 yards, but with 2 interceptions had a 69.2 passer rating – won’t make the 49ers faithful to forget Montana, who was at his best in those last-minute situations. It’s what made Montana special, on top of being nearly flawless in Super Bowls.
And the man he backed up as a Patriots understudy? Brady’s knack for last-minute magic is a reason he’s won six Super Bowl rings.
Garoppolo is his own man – in more ways than one.
He’s nobody’s legend.
MORE SUPER BOWL
The champs:Chiefs are champs with stunning Super Bowl comeback over 49ers.
The key plays:Super Bowl: Four key plays that changed the game, helped Chiefs to 31-20 victory against 49ers.
The MVP:Patrick Mahomes wins Super Bowl MVP after leading Chiefs’ wild comeback vs. 49ers.
Coming to San Francisco:49ers almost pursued very different plan at QB before good fortune, prior research led them to Jimmy Garoppolo.
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