Joe Santoro: 49ers’ Jimmy G is going to be just fine | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: 49ers’ Jimmy G is going to be just fine

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lays on the ground after being hit during the second half of Super Bowl 54.
Matt York/AP | AP

Jalen Harris is arguably on the hottest streak of any Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball player in school history. Harris scored 38 points in the Pack’s easy 88-54 win over Air Force on Tuesday night at Lawlor Events Center, becoming the first player in school history with three consecutive games of 30 points or more. His 99 points over the last three games is also a Wolf Pack school record. Nick Fazekas had 92 during one three-game stretch in the 2005-06 season. Harris now also has a school-record four games this season of 30 points or more. The junior has gone 36-of-68 (53 percent) from the field and 12-of-25 (48 percent) over his last three games so he isn’t hogging the ball or tossing up a lot of bad shots just to pad his stat sheet. During those three games he also has 17 rebounds, 13 assists, four steals and just nine turnovers. He leads the Mountain West in scoring at 20.7 a game. He’s the best player in the Mountain West right now.

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Joe Montana’s legend continues to grow. If nothing else, the San Francisco 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in last Sunday’s Super Bowl was yet another reminder of the greatness of Montana. You can also add the 49ers’ 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl seven years ago to the reasons why Montana should be appreciated now even more than when he was winning Super Bowls. Montana was 4-0 in Super Bowls. He was 83-of-122 for 1,142 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in those four games. Yes, no interceptions over 122 Super Bowl pass attempts. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes was picked off twice on Sunday. Montana beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16, in January 1989 with an 11-play, 92-yard drive in the final minutes of the game. Jimmy Garoppolo and Colin Kaepernick played well in the 49ers’ losses to the Ravens and Chiefs. But both had a chance to win those games late. And both came up short. And, by the way, Kaepernick was intercepted once and Jimmy G was picked off twice.

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Damien Williams, not Mahomes, should have been named the MVP of Sunday’s Super Bowl. The running back rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 29 yards and another touchdown. He scored the Chiefs’ last two touchdowns and was Kansas City’s most consistent offensive player the entire game. Mahomes was solid. But only for the final six or seven minutes. Williams was good all game long. Disney World, though, probably wanted Mahomes in the commercial after the game and not Williams. Mahomes is dynamic. He’s a winner. He never quits. He’s confident. He is the new face of the league. And Disney.

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The Chiefs won that Super Bowl more than the 49ers gave it away. There’s been some discussion that Kyle Shanahan’s play calling with the 49ers up 20-10 and 20-17 in the fourth quarter had something to do with the loss. But that wasn’t the reason the 49ers lost. The offensive line didn’t protect Garoppolo well in the fourth quarter. The 49ers committed a couple stupid false start penalties that hurt drives. But, more than anything, the Chiefs simply went out and took over the game. That’s what Mahomes does. Everything turned on a 44-yard pass to Tyreek Hill on 3rd-and-15 with about seven minutes left. Nothing went right for the 49ers after that play and nothing went wrong for the Chiefs. If you went to Shanahan and the 49ers before the game and said, “Hey, we’ll give you a 20-10 lead with seven minutes to go and, to top it off, we’ll make the Chiefs face a 3rd-and-15 situation. “Would you take it?” You bet they would have taken it. The 49ers won the first 54 minutes of that Super Bowl. Shanahan out-coached Andy Reid for those 54 minutes. Football fans now, though, are calling him the ultimate Super Bowl choker. The Chiefs won the last six minutes. Andy Reid didn’t out coach Shanahan in those last six minutes. All that happened was Hill caught an under thrown pass for 44 yards and a first down. The officials then gave Williams a touchdown on a 5-yard catch when he might not have even gotten into the end zone. And now Reid is considered an American folk hero. That’s how football works.

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Garoppolo, of course, is not Montana or Young. He also is not Tom Brady. And he will never be Patrick Mahomes. Garoppolo won’t ever win a Super Bowl by himself, like Montana, Young, Brady or Mahomes. But he’s a guy who can help you win one, like he almost did on Sunday. If the 49ers would have covered Hill on that 3rd-and-15 play. Garoppolo would have been in the conversation for Super Bowl MVP. Kaepernick never got back to the Super Bowl but Garoppolo can. He’s still inexperienced. He’s still growing as a quarterback. This was just his first full year as a starter. He’ll be fine.

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Are you ready for some more football? The XFL will debut (again) this weekend with its new eight-team league. Two former Wolf Pack players (running back James Butler and linebacker Kaelin Burnett) will play for the Houston Roughnecks. The father of Wolf Pack offensive coordinator Matt Mumme (Hal Mumme) will be the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Renegades. Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell’s former boss at Oklahoma, Bob Stoops, is the head coach of the Renegades. Norvell fell in love with the Air Raid when he was in Oklahoma, coaching under Stoops. So the former Oklahoma connection with the Air Raid offense is now in Nevada and Dallas.

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Will the XFL survive this time? Never underestimate America’s love of football. Yes, even bad, boring, meaningless football (like most of college football). The games will be televised on ESPN, Fox and ABC. There won’t be any stars to get excited about but you’ll recognize some of the head coaches (June Jones will no doubt put up 60 points a week in Houston) and there will be plenty of touchdowns. And ESPN will shove it down our throats, like they do all of their silly programming. The best reason for the XFL to survive is that the season is Feb. 8 through April 12 when there’s nothing else on TV worth watching.