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SANTA CLARA — The Garoppolo Effect is real.

Before Jimmy Garoppolo became the 49ers starting quarterback, they had lost 10 of 11 games, including five by three points or fewer. Since he became the starting quarterback three weeks ago, the 49ers have won all three of their games, including two by three points or fewer.

They’re winning the close games they were losing earlier in the season.

That’s the Garoppolo Effect.

Here’s a look at how the Garoppolo Effect affects the entire team.

Effect on the quarterback position

Important stats: Before Garoppolo became the starter (the first 11 games), 49ers quarterbacks completed 56.6 percent of their passes, got sacked 7.5 percent of the time they dropped back and posted a quarterback rating of 72.6. These averages ranked 31st, 21st and 31st out of 32 teams, respectively.

Since Garoppolo became the starter (the past three games), he has completed 68.1 percent of his passes, gotten sacked 5.8 percent of the time he has dropped back and posted a quarterback rating of 94.6. These averages rank seventh, 15th and 12th in the NFL. A big improvement.

The numbers show Garoppolo is much more accurate and significantly better at avoiding pressure than his predecessors — Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard. Garoppolo has been the 12th-most-efficient quarterback in the NFL the past three games.

Effect on the offense

Important stats: Before Garoppolo was the starter, the offense scored 18 points per game and 1.6 touchdowns per game, gained 321.7 yards per game, converted 34.2 percent of its third downs, held the ball for 26:44 per game, scored touchdowns 48.2 percent of the time it reached the red zone and gained 4.3 yards per rush attempt. These averages ranked 28th, 32nd, 21st, 26th, 32nd 25th and ninth in the NFL — all near the bottom, except for the rushing average. The 49ers ran the ball well before Garoppolo became the quarterback.

With Garoppolo as the starter, the offense has scored 22 points per game (an increase of four), one touchdown per game (a slight decrease), gained 406 yards per game (big increase), three yards per rush attempt (big decrease), converted 44.2 percent of its third downs (big increase), held the ball for 35:23 per game (gigantic increase) and scored touchdowns 40 percent of the time it reached the red zone (a decrease). These averages rank 14th, 31st, sixth, 31st, eighth, first and 30th in the NFL.

What do those numbers show?

The main benefit of the Garoppolo Effect for the offense comes on third downs. By converting almost 45 percent of them, Garoppolo has allowed the offense to stay on the field for almost nine minutes longer per game than before he was the starter. More time on the field leads to more points.

But, surprisingly, the Garoppolo Effect has the offense scoring touchdowns less frequently in the red zone, scoring fewer touchdowns and averaging fewer yards per carry. Not what you would expect.

The red-zone efficiency and the touchdowns may increase as Garoppolo becomes more comfortable with the offense and his teammates. But the drop in rushing efficiency is unexpected. The run game should improve now that defenses have to worry about Garoppolo and the 49ers’ pass game.

But opponents may know when the 49ers plan to run the ball. One former NFL offensive coordinator said Garoppolo is tipping plays.

When Kyle Shanahan calls a run, according to the former coordinator, Garoppolo tends to keep his head down before the snap. When Shanahan calls a pass, Garoppolo tends to raise his head and scan the defense before the snap. In poker, they call this a tell.

“I didn’t (notice), but I’ll go back and check,” Shanahan said on Wednesday when someone mentioned Garoppolo may be tipping plays. “I appreciate that. I hope Jacksonville is not listening to this press conference. If they are, I’ll change it. Thank you.”

Effect on the defense

Important stats: Before Garoppolo was the starter, the defense allowed 25.8 points per game, 374.2 yards per game and 5.4 yards per play. It sacked opposing quarterbacks 5.1 percent of the time they dropped back, allowed opponents to convert 44.9 percent of their third downs, was on the field for 33:15 per game and allowed 3.9 yards per rush attempt. These averages ranked 28th, 28th, 18th, 26th 30th, 32nd and 10th in the NFL — all near the bottom, except for the run defense. The 49ers have defended the run well most of the season.

With Garoppolo as the starter, the defense has allowed only 17.7 points per game (more than eight points fewer than before), 262 yards per game (more than 100 yards fewer than before), 4.9 yards per play (half a yard fewer than before) and 3.5 yards per rush attempt (almost half a yard fewer than before). It has sacked opposing quarterbacks 6.5 percent of the time they dropped back (increase of more than one), allowed opponents to convert 40 percent of their third downs (a decrease of almost five percent) and has been on the field for 24:36 per game (a decrease of almost nine minutes). These averages rank 10th, fourth, eighth, fourth, 11th, 15th and first in the NFL.

Garoppolo’s ability to convert third downs has kept the 49ers defense off the field, and kept it fresh and energized. Before Garoppolo became the starter, the defense was on the field more than any other defense in the league, and would inevitably wear down by the fourth quarter.

With Garoppolo at quarterback, the defense is better against the run, better at rushing the quarterback and better at getting off the field on third downs. It has been one of the best defenses in the NFL the past three games. That’s the Garoppolo Effect.

Effect on special teams

Important stats: Before Garoppolo was the starter, the 49ers special teams attempted 2.1 field goals per game and 5.6 punts per game.

With Garoppolo as the starter, the 49ers special teams have attempted five field goals per game and 2.7 punts per game.

This is the essence of the Garoppolo Effect. Without Garoppolo, the 49ers ranked near the top of the league in punt attempts per game. With Garoppolo, the 49ers rank last in punt attempts per game and first in field-goal attempts per game.

The difference between winning and losing can be very small.

You can reach Grant Cohn at grantcohn@gmail.com or on Twitter @grantcohn.

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