Texas

Goodwin Quickly Has Become a Familiar Target for Garoppolo

Niners' speedy wide receiver looks like a different and more productive player with his new quarterback

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Marquise Goodwin has been one of the big beneficiaries since Jimmy Garoppolo became the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

The wide receiver, in his first season with the Niners after four seasons in Buffalo, has had back-to-back high-impact games in victories over the Bears and Texans. On Sunday in the 26-16 victory at Houston, Goodwin was targeted 12 times, caught six balls for 106 yards and averaged 17.67 yards per reception. Over the past two games he has 14 catches for 205 yards. It’s the most productive pair of games for Goodwin this season.

In the 11 games previous to Garoppolo’s debut as starter, Goodwin had 27 total catches.

Goodwin, the former track standout from the University of Texas, is giving Garoppolo a great deep threat and a receiver who can break a short reception into a long one on any play.

The analytic website Pro Football Focus gave Goodwin one of the 49ers’ best grades in Sunday’s victory, despite the fact he had two drops.

As PFF noted, Goodwin made up for it “with explosive plays in the passing game.” The biggest came on a short crossing route when he made a catch between defenders and “took it for a 32-yard gain with a nice run after the catch.”

Until this season, Goodwin hadn’t been especially productive as a wide receiver with the Bills. His career high in catches was 29 for 431 yards in 2016. He already has 41 for 783 in 2017.

After Sunday’s victory, Goodwin said Garoppolo has completely transformed the 49ers offense and says he feels a great chemistry with him.

“He’s a leader, very vocal, keeps guys on the edge of their seat, makes sure that we stay poised and focused throughout the game,” said Goodwin. “There’s no point in the game where I ever see him pout or down or disappointed. His morale is always up, high-spirited guy.”

Though the 49ers will likely seek receiving help after this season, it’s obvious that Goodwin can play a big role in the team’s passing game in 2018. With a growing chemistry, the Garoppolo-Goodwin connection could be very dangerous in the years ahead.

The 49ers, now 3-10 after starting the season 0-9, will try to keep things rolling this coming Sunday against the Titans at Levi’s Stadium.

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