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.