While the well-documented percentage of how much he was producing in relation to the rest of the team helped his cause, it ended up hurting it as the Seahawks struggled too much around him, putting their playoff hopes almost on ice. The games against the Jaguars and Rams back-to-back were make or break for his MVP campaign, and the losses shattered his chances.
As long as the Pacers continue to be the only team to rank among the bottom five in points allowed in the paint per 100 possessions as well as opponent three point attempts per 100 possessions, the speed of the offense both in terms of the number of possessions as well as the speed within those possessions has to be this team’s best defense.
Without Victor Oladipo’s clutch shooting to fall back on and Myles Turner and Bojan Bogdanovic both shooting less than 40 percent since the start of his absence, neglecting to do the little things is huge.
Wins over the lowly Bears and Texans didn’t move the needle much (other than strong defensive performances, plus the game-winning drive executed by Garoppolo to set up the field goal that beat the Bears in Soldier Field). But impressive victories the past two weeks have opened everyone’s eyes. Facing the playoff-contending Titans and Jaguars, Garoppolo was superb. Against Tennessee, he completed 72 percent of his passes for 381 yards and one touchdown, and he calmly directed the drive that set up the game-winning field goal as time expired.
Then last week against the league’s No. 1 defense in points allowed, Garoppolo put up 28 points in the second half of a 44-33 win. He threw two TDs, ran for one and made a Brett Favre-esque escape from pressure and perfect sidearm throw for a fourth-quarter touchdown pass.
When Patriots coach Bill Belichick finally agreed to trade Garoppolo, he figured the 49ers’ second-round pick would be the first or second selection in the round (which teams consider a late first). Now if the 49ers win their fifth straight against a Rams team that has already clinched the NFC West, that pick could fall to No. 10 in the round.