49ers vs. Bears: Jimmy Garoppolo Era Begins

Five seconds left in the game.

Jimmy Garoppolo yells, “TWO,” with two fingers in the air to call the play at the line. He takes the snap and calmly goes through his progressions.

1st read: Covered. 2nd read: Covered. The pocket starts to collapse. Garoppolo scrambles left to bide time for his receivers. He throws to WR Louis Murphy in the end zone with three Seahawks defenders surrounding him and CB Byron Maxwell draped across Murphy’s back.

Doesn’t matter. Touchdown, 49ers. San Francisco’s prodigy QB couldn’t have thrown a prettier first touchdown pass. Fans have every right to gush over this play.

Well, now Garoppolo gets his first start against the Chicago Bears. Here are a few keys for the game:

49ers QB needs to be a hero.

Garoppolo’s predecessors got pulverized over the season behind this make-shift offensive line. Can the franchise QB pull off the upset with his lightening fast release and fantastic pocket presence?

This is Garoppolo’s time to shine in front of his hometown.

Can the Niners hold up in pass protection?

The biggest question of the game: Will RT Trent Brown play on Sunday? If he can’t, G Zane Beadles (*cue eyeroll*) will have to take his place.

Chicago is ranked 10th in the league in sacks. Can the 49er’s meager offensive line keep their franchise QB upright?

3. 49ers defense providing needed spark

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan mentioned Garoppolo won’t be totally comfortable with the playbook until next year. Garoppolo doesn’t have the reps as a starter to have a good rapport with his receivers yet. This game might not go well for him.

The 49ers defense needs to be ready to carry this game against a terrible Bears offense. Chicago ranks 29th (49ers rank 21st) in overall offense. Can the Defensive Rookie of the Month Reuben Foster get his first career interception?

49ers fans want Garoppolo to succeed. If he prevails, he’ll be a superstar in the Bay Area. The 49ers history of legendary QB’s now look to Jimmy Garoppolo. He spent four years on the bench behind a Hall of Fame QB in Tom Brady. Can Garoppolo thrive in the position Brady dreamed of growing up?

No pressure, Jimmy.

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