The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos totally mailed in the offense on Sunday Night Football. Even for the few fans (like myself) that still enjoy a defensive battle at times, it was hard to focus on this game. The passing games were despicable for both teams, and Jimmy Garoppolo made his best Dan Orlovsky impression when he did a 12-step drop into the back of the end zone for a safety.
Garoppolo’s goof was a lifesaver during that moment. On the play, Jimmy G threw up a pass over his intended target’s head and into the hands of Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb, who ran it in for a pick-six that was negated by the safety. That was the Garoppolo/Orlovsky special right there.
But hey, this is what Team Jimmy fans and many media personalities wanted. Everyone thought Garoppolo should still be the QB, even though the world has seen him hit his ceiling plenty of times. The 49ers probably would’ve won this game if this safety hadn’t occurred. The score still would have been ugly, but a win is a win. Instead, Jimmy G put up a 14.2 QBR in a losing effort.
Things weren’t much better on the opposing side for Russell Wilson. DangeRuss posted a QBR of 32.9 and just 184 yards passing. Wilson actually had a lower passer rating than Garoppolo (81.2) at 75.8. Neither number is good, but the Broncos are on a two-game winning streak following the Sunday night victory.
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This game was a mix of good defensive plays and sloppy offense. There wasn’t a lot of scoring, but not necessarily because both defenses shut everything down. Both quarterbacks were missing passes (badly at times), and guys were dropping balls and fumbling. It was just messy. Denver lost two fumbles, and Wilson threw one interception. And it’s not like there were a ton of penalties in this game as they combined for 12. The Cowboys will surpass that by themselves Monday night against the Giants.
Ultimately, this was ugly and not what the NFL wanted to present in primetime. Sunday Night Football has become what Monday Night Football was 25 years ago. The biggest matchups have been on NBC every Sunday night for the past 15 years. Two huge brands with “marquee” QBs, and that’s what they gave fans.
Denver might be the luckiest 2-1 team going right now and really could be 3-0. So far, it’s not looking like Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett’s offense are too compatible. It could just be a matter of familiarity and getting into a groove with his receivers and the offense overall for Wilson. Luckily for the Broncos, the next three games on the schedule are the Raiders, Colts, and Chargers. And Justin Herbert’s dealing with busted ribs right now, so who knows what his status will be in a few weeks.
San Francisco, on the other hand, is stuck with Garoppolo. It’s what they asked for and wanted, so it’s hard to feel sympathetic. The Niners couldn’t or wouldn’t trade Jimmy G for whatever reason, and now he’s back in the lineup because of Trey Lance’s horrible foot injury. Following Week 1, people were already calling for Garoppolo to replace Lance before he got hurt. So, Team Jimmy, your wish has come true, and you got him in all his glory Sunday night. Good luck, Niners.
Even after witnessing this puke fest, I expect both teams to make the postseason in their respective conferences. We know Garoppolo will win some games, but we also know he’s only going to take the 49ers so far before he has another game like Sunday nights. The Wilson-Hackett combo is still a mystery, as it’s only been three games. If they can get it together, Russ gets on track with his receivers, and they eliminate some turnovers, the Broncos could be a real contender come January.