Blame Trey Flowers and Jamie Collins. Last week was supposed to be the can't-miss grand premier of the Jimmy Garoppolo show, and instead the Patriots hung 14 points on the Saints on defense with a pick-6 and a sack-fumble-return for a touchdown. Flowers and Collins, overachievers, both of you!
And since Jimmy’s had such limited time on the field until now, people have been all over the place with what to expect from the kid. Is he a game manager? Is he another spread QB that’ll get eaten alive against a real (well, preseason "real", anyway) NFL defense? Is he, as his college coach said, presumably seriously, the next Dan Marino?
Now, we at least have something to dig into – with a week of preseason ball in the books, we can put Jimmy’s numbers up next to his fellow QBs to see how he looks. In most cases, it’s not too bad!
This one’s about as straightforward as it gets. Jimmy G actually threw for the third-highest yard total in the NFL this week, ending his night against the Saints with 168 yards through the air. Only two guys racked up more yards than Garoppolo – Seattle’s Trevone Boykin and Atlanta’s Matt Shaub, who passed for 188 and 179 yards, respectively.
As you’ve surely seen in the stat column already, Jimmy went 11 for 18 against New Orleans’ defense, which, no offense, but they set a new all-time NFL record for touchdowns allowed last year. Garoppolo’s 11 completions were good for 11th overall, and that puts him in the neighborhood of Eagles rookie Carson Wentz (12 for 24), Cardale Jones in Buffalo (11 for 21), and the guy that used to have Jimmy G’s job, Ryan Mallett, who’s now with the Baltimore Ravens (11 for 15).
Hey, wait a minute, though – Jimmy had almost the same number of completed passes as all those guys, and he did it in fewer attempts (except for Ryan Mallett). His completion percentage has to be one of the best out there, right?
Sure, there’s technically a few dudes that have a 100% completion percentage if you just pull up the stats page on NFL.com, but to get a sense of how Jimmy’s completion percentage stacks up, I (conveniently) ignored anyone with less than 5 passing attempts. Not trying to talk about how Drew Brees threw one pass, a dude caught it, and then Brees peaced out for the rest of the game.
Anyway, based on what we were just talking about, you would think that Garoppolo’s completion percentage would put him in pretty good company.
And a 61.1% completion percentage is nothing to sneeze at, but even if you only count quarterbacks that threw 5 or more passes in Week 1, Jimmy’s completion percentage of 61.1% is….
...30th. As in, there were 29 other quarterbacks that actually played this past weekend that posted a better completion percentage.
No Jimmy G touchdowns to report this year, yet. Booooo.
But, stacked up to what most people would consider comparable players, zero touchdowns in one half of a preseason game was pretty much par for the course. Observe:
-Only four quarterbacks scored multiple touchdowns this week – LA’s Sean Mannion, Oakland’s Matt McGloin, Dallas’s Dak Prescott, and Houston’s Tom Savage.
-A whopping 23 quarterbacks threw one touchdown, and that counts guys like Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater (a late first-round pick in 2014), Geno Smith (a 2013 second-round pick), and EJ Manuel, who you may have forgotten was a 2013 first-round pick before losing his job to Kyle Orton, and Matt Cassell, and Tyrod Taylor.
And finally, Garoppolo also chalked up a big old zero in one last category:
None. That’s good.
Maybe Jimmy is way more clutch than we all think, and could dig the team out of a hole even if he did turn the ball over, but taking care of the rock was pretty much everyone’s biggest worry last Thursday. And he did, although he had that one backyard-ball across-the-body bomb that probably should have been picked off.
In case you think the "well, he didn’t turn the ball over!" aspect of the game is getting too much love, here’s some guys that did throw interceptions this weekend:
Jared Goff (LA), Carson Wentz (Philadelphia), Luke McCown (New Orleans), Mark Sanchez (Denver), and Matt Barkley (Arizona).
Oh, and remember that sweet screen pass that James White almost took to the house before he finally got chased down at the goal line?
That was actually the third-longest reception of the weekend – the Garoppolo-to-White pass went for a cool 56 yards, with only Stephen Morris and Matt Schaub in front of Jimmy.
Next up, Jimmy and his partner in crime Jacoby Brissett square off against the Bears on Thursday.