There it is an old saying in NFL circles: “If you have two quarterbacks, you really don’t have any.” Well, tell that to the San Francisco 49ers, who have learned the value of keeping two qualified starters. While the 49ers were criticized for handing backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a guaranteed one-year deal in the offseason rather than trade him for whatever they could get, the move may have saved his season after Trey Lance. fell with a broken ankle on Sunday.
The extent of Lance’s injury was unknown when the team put Garoppolo, previously dubbed “the most expensive backup in the world” by some of the more sarcastic members of the media, on the field against the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter. . As usual, it was an efficient but unremarkable performance from Garoppolo, who had both a passing and rushing touchdown while throwing for 154 yards without an interception. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 27-7, earning their first win of the season while handing Seattle its first loss.
It turns out that they will be forced to trust Garoppolo, who he was practicing on his own for much of the off-season, long-term. Immediately after the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that Lance’s broken ankle requires season-ending surgery. It was heartbreaking news for a 22-year-old with so much talent to offer fans. Suddenly Garoppolo, who looked like he was going to spend the season sitting on the bench for a team that clearly wanted to get away from him, is back leading the team that won the NFC Championship Game last season.
Oh, and about that “most expensive backup” designation? If Garoppolo stays healthy, he’ll be a bargain. Yes, his contract guarantees him $6.5 million, but by restructuring his contract, the 49ers have surely saved money. weather could earn $12.65 million if he starts the whole year, that’s a far cry from $24.2 million he would have been due under his old deal.
It’s not an ideal situation for San Francisco, who were hoping to develop their No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, but Garoppolo’s presence prevents Lance’s broken ankle from being a devastating blow. It turns out that in a league where starting-caliber quarterbacks are the most valuable asset a team can have, it’s not necessarily silly to have two on hand.
Let’s be honest, though: This wasn’t San Francisco’s Plan A. If another team was willing to overpay for Garoppolo during the offseason, he would be that franchise’s starter right now. God knows there are teams he would have made better (he probably would have found a home in a league that didn’t tacitly encourage tanking). Still, instead of treating him as surplus, the team valued his skills and his many years playing within their system above what was on offer.
So the 49ers decided to be conservative, took their fair share of criticism, and now have apparently been rewarded (albeit in the cruelest way possible). What is the moral here? Well, let’s move on to a sports cliché that’s actually applicable in this situation: Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make.
MVP of the week
Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Miami Dolphins. For most of the Baltimore Ravens game against the Miami Dolphins, it seemed like this was the prize Lamar Jackson would miss out on. Unfortunately for him, Tagovailoa (assisted by the Ravens’ porous defense) had different plans as Miami overcame a 21-point deficit and pulled off a shocking 42-38 victory to improve to 2-0.
The story in Baltimore should have been that Jackson kept betting on himself and winning: He threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another for a combined 437 yards. It still wasn’t enough because Tagovailoa was so much better: He threw for 469 yards and a whopping six touchdowns. It turns out that if you can do that, you don’t really need to make things happen with your legs. Right now, Florida’s best quarterback may not be the one the Dolphins were reportedly looking for this offseason.
Statistics of the week
Six. That’s the number of times Joe Burrow was fired during the Bengals’ 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. While Burrow has become one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league, the only knock on his game has been his propensity to take sacks. Last season, much of the blame fell on Cincinnati’s dubious offensive line, but the team reportedly spent the offseason working to fix it.
The results? Worse than inclusive. Until now, Burrow has been fired 12 times in two games, a big reason last season’s Super Bowl runners-up entered this season with an 0-2 record.
videos of the week
The Buccaneers of Tampa Bay defeated the New Orleans Saints 20-10 on Sunday, but the biggest play had little to do with football. In what was a typically messy game between the two teams, Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans were ejected during a bench-clearing brawl.
Lattimore probably had a right to be irritated at being sent off given that Evans pushed him, but the referees were no doubt influenced by the story between the two players. Meanwhile, Tom Brady was also visibly unhappy, at one point slapping his tablet in frustration. Maybe his heart is elsewhere.
quote of the week
“That shit was embarrassing. We got our ass kicked.” – Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner after his team’s 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s hard to argue with Buckner. In fact, the Colts’ futility in Jacksonville is downright historic. The last time they won in Jacksonville that 2014, which is surprising considering the Jaguars have been mostly mediocre to poor during that stretch. Despite making an upgrade at quarterback by trading veteran Matt Ryan during the offseason, the Colts began their season 0–2. Meanwhile, the Jaguars won their first game of the season with only their third shutout in the last 15 years. There are no points for guessing which team they are on. win both times.
Elsewhere in the league
— It looked like another bad Sunday for the New York Jets, who trailed the Cleveland Browns 30-17 with less than two minutes left. At one point, Cleveland the probability of winning was projected at 99.9%. However, after an elite touchdown pass from Joe Flacco, punter Braden Mann pulled off a successful onside kick that quickly became a game-winning touchdown for New York. The Jets beat the Browns 31-30 thanks in part to Mann getting his foot back in football.
Somehow, it wasn’t even the most impressive play of Mann’s game. New York wouldn’t even have been in a position to come back if Mann hadn’t kept a first-quarter drive alive with his arm, converting a fake punt in the fourth and one that ultimately set up the first of four Flacco touchdowns. happens
— The much-hyped Arizona Cardinals narrowly escaped falling into the same 0-2 hole as the Bengals. Fans had reason to worry about quarterback Kyler Murray, who signed a five-year, $230.5 million deal in the offseason after his team fell from a 20-0 halftime deficit against Las Vegas. Raiders, who were also looking for their first win of the offseason. season. Incredibly, Murray managed to force overtime with the help of the most absurd two-point conversion the league has seen in years.
After tying things up in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals won the game in overtime on a failed recovery. You know, how they set things up. It was a potentially season-saving win for Arizona. The Raiders fell to 0-2 in pretty brutal fashion, but okay, it was still a pretty special day for Las Vegas sports.
— New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston was playing with four fractures in the back, which partly explains a brutal day of three interceptions and six sacks. It also leads one to wonder if the Saints should have gone with veteran backup Andy Dalton instead of pushing their injured starter to take over.
— In a game that would have had a lot more hype a few seasons ago when Brady was in New England and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t retired, the Patriots captured their first win of the season in a turnover-and-penalty-filled mess against the Steelers. Pittsburgh. Road victory 17-14 at least he kept the Pats from falling into an 0-2 hole for the first time in 20 years. Both teams are now 1-1 and neither seems destined for the postseason at this point.
— In Defensive Rookie of the Year news, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had three sacks in the first half for the Detroit Lions on Sunday, helping give his team a 22-game lead. 0 at halftime over the Washington Commanders. To Washington’s credit, Carson Wentz had a three-touchdown second half to keep this from being a total laugh, and the Lions ultimately hung on. win 36-27.