Before the Super Bowl, many analysts expressed doubts about the ability of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
For more than three quarters, Garoppolo put those doubts to rest. Then, the Kansas City Chiefs roared back, Garoppolo struggled late and the 49ers fell in Super Bowl LIV 31-20.
As Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com noted, the Chiefs pressured Garoppolo on eight of his 13 fourth-quarter dropbacks and Garoppolo completed just 2-of-9 throws with two interceptions.
Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark said after the game that Garoppolo wasn’t able to step up with the game on the line and beat K.C.’s defense.
"You paying the guy $140 million, $130 million, whatever he’s getting paid," Clark said. "He’s got to throw the ball. Obviously he didn’t do that. They threw for about 200 yards on checkdowns. That ain’t enough to win a game against us."
Now, the critics have gotten louder. After praising Garoppolo in the run-up to the Super Bowl, former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens said the quarterback came up short in the game and that head coach Kyle Shanahan’s game plan basically turned Jimmy G into a "game manager."
ESPN host Bomani Jones has been a critic of Garoppolo for most of this season, and the Super Bowl just strengthened his feeling.
"He didn’t come in here and show you anything new," said Jones. "This is what he was."
And, former Dallas Morning News columnist and TV pundit Skip Bayless was even more dismissive.
"This is what I would do," said Bayless. "I would cut Jimmy G and sign Tom Brady for two more years."
Garoppolo finished the game 20-of-31 for 219 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and was sacked once.
For Garoppolo, it’s the disappointing end to his first full season as an NFL starter. He’s definitely disappointed he couldn’t lead the Niners to a win. But he did lead them to a Super Bowl and an NFC championship.
"Those are the moments you dream of," he said. "We got rolling on a right note and couldn’t finish off. Hell of a ride. But at the end of the day, people just remember the wins and losses."