Can the legend of Jimmy Garoppolo grow even further this week?
After leading the 49ers to a victory last week over the Bears in his first start for his new team since a trade-deadline deal with the Patriots, Garoppolo will lead San Francisco into Houston for a matchup against the slumping 4-8 Texans, who may be ripe for the picking.
Houston has lost five of its past six games and its offense has been poor under young quarterback Tom Savage. Plus, the Texans have turned the ball over to opponents 23 times.
So, the 49ers – with a revitalized offense with Garoppolo – could improve to 3-10 if they can take advantage of Houston’s problems.
Certainly, the Texans coaching staff was impressed with the way Garoppolo led the 49ers to a win over the Bears.
“I think he’s really good,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “I mean, he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience and he’s gaining that right now. But he’s fot a very quick release. He’s very accurate, smart, makes quick decisions. … He’s got a lot of really good qualities to be a top-notch quarterback. So, he’s going to be a tough guy to deal with on Sunday.”
The 49ers, however, weren’t able to score touchdowns vs. the Bears, coming away with five field goals in a 15-14 victory. That will have to change. Garoppolo will have to convert some of those drives into seven points.
With another week of practice and familiarity with the 49ers playbook, Garoppolo will have a slightly bigger repertoire of plays to pick from against the Texans, said head coach Kyle Shanahan. That, plus his experience in his first start, should make him more comfortable against Houston.
“You keep adding stuff each day until you have a whole game plan,” Shanahan told reporters this week. “And then by Saturday night you get together, you kind of soak it all in. I have an idea of what I think he’s comfortable with and does well and he has an idea, too. Then we discuss it. Things that he’s not comfortable with or I’m not comfortable with them, we usually take out.”
The Texans are listed as 3-point favorites for Sunday’s matchup. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. (Bay Area time).