StaTuesday: Vikings ruin Garoppolo’s perfect record

The legend of Jimmy G. lost a little of its luster Sunday afternoon.

First, a recap: Jimmy Garoppolo rose to prominence as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s backup and heir apparent. He played sparingly until 2016, starting two games in place of a suspended Brady before suffering a shoulder injury.

The Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, where he made his debut during Week 12. He was off and running after that, throwing for 1,542 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions in five starts, all wins, while earning a 94.0 passer rating.

That resume was enough to earn Garoppolo one of the richest contracts in NFL history. His $137.5 million extension was the second-largest contract in the league until last week, when Khalil Mack signed with the Chicago Bears.

His first start since signing didn’t quite meet expectations.

Garoppolo struggled all afternoon against the Minnesota Vikings, completing just 15 of 33 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown.

He was under duress throughout, as the 49ers’ offensive line wilted when faced with the combined talents of Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and newcomer Sheldon Richardson.

The damage: 12 passes defensed, three interceptions and three sacks. It was, by virtually any metric, the worst game of Garoppolo’s brief career.

Date Tm Opp Result Cmp/Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Sk Yds Y/A
9/11/16 NWE at ARI W 23-21 24/33 72.73 264 1 0 106.1 2 7 8
9/18/16 NWE MIA W 31-24 18/26 69.23 232 3 0 135.4 0 0 8.92
12/3/17 SFO at CHI W 15-14 26/37 70.27 293 0 1 82.4 2 15 7.92
12/10/17 SFO at HOU W 26-16 20/33 60.61 334 1 1 92.2 2 20 10.12
12/17/17 SFO TEN W 25-23 31/43 72.09 381 1 0 106.8 3 18 8.86
12/24/17 SFO JAX W 44-33 21/30 70 242 2 1 102.4 1 4 8.07
12/31/17 SFO at LAR W 34-13 20/33 60.61 292 2 2 84.4 0 0 8.85
9/9/18 SFO at MIN L 16-24 15/33 45.45 261 1 3 45.1 3 24 7.91

Garoppolo set career lows in all the wrong areas: completion percentage, passer rating and yards per attempt. He also set some notable highs.

That was the first time in his career that Garoppolo has been picked off three times, and just the second time he’s suffered three sacks. He also lost 24 yards on those three sacks, another career high.

The Vikings’ defense was particularly effective in the red zone, holding Garoppolo without a touchdown and limiting him to just three completions.

It shouldn’t be particularly surprising that a quarterback — even a quarterback with as much hype behind him as Garoppolo — would struggle against the Vikings’ defense.

Mike Hughes, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith weren’t exactly showing off on those interceptions, but Garopollo’s run as the 49ers’ starter last season wasn’t particularly easy.

He showed out against the league’s top pass defense last year, posting a 102.4 passer rating after completing 70 percent of his passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars en route to one of the most impressive wins of his young career.

Maybe the Vikings are just that good.