On October 0th the San Francisco 49ers sent a 2nd round draft pick to the New England Patriots for Tom Brady’s understudy, Jimmy Garoppolo. As San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan opted to take things slow with his potential franchise quarterback, Garappolo didn’t start a game until December 3rd but since then, well, let’s just say that the 49ers have to be happy with how that trade worked out.

“Good thing that Brady trade didn’t work out.”

Going into Week 16, Garoppolo had led the 49ers to three straight victories despite the fact that he was taking over a team that was 1-10 and absolutely terrible at nearly every aspect of the game. In beating the Bears, Texans and Titans, Jimmy G. had shown a promising amount of star power but it was fair to wonder if his game had looked better than it actually was due to the quality – or, more specifically, the lack thereof – of his competition.

Enter the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Sunday, Jimmy G. and his 49ers faced off against a Jags defense that was, by at least some metrics, the best defense in the league. They were particularly adept at shutting down passing games given that their dominant pass rush had already racked up an astonishing 51 sacks through Week 15 and could support that pass rush with arguably the league’s best cornerback duo in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.

Except, yeah, Jimmy G. was having none of that shit.

Garoppolo led his team to 44 points against that vaunted defense, including this magnificently Aaron Rodgers-esque TD throw to backup receiver Trent Taylor:

So who’s incompetent here? Is it the Jaguars for losing to Jimmy G. and his apparently superhuman powers? No, I don’t think so. Because if you lose to one of the league’s best quarterbacks – and, to be clear, that’s what Garoppolo has been over the last month – then incompetence isn’t to blame. No, if anyone can be blamed for incompetence here, it’s the general managers of 30 other NFL teams who all had a chance to pick up Jimmy G. and didn’t. How scary would the Cardinals or Broncos or, oh I don’t know, the Jaguars be, if they had been willing to give up a 1st rounder or maybe a pair of 2nd rounders to get Garoppolo? But they didn’t. And because of that incompetence or cowardice or whatever you want to call it, the good people of San Francisco are celebrating Christmas this year with a lot more than a win over a good team: they’ve got a franchise quarterback. Merry Christmas, indeed.


Brennan Quenneville is an editor and contributor at The Read Option. He can also be found at his blog and at Type In Stereo, where he is a contributor.

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