The louder it gets, the better Jimmy Garoppolo likes it.
On Sunday, three weeks after he was brilliant in a 48-46 win in the bedlam of the Superdome, the 49ers quarterback got it done in another din.
Garoppolo completed 18 of 22 passes for 285 yards to help lead the 49ers to a 26-21 win at ear-splitting CenturyLink Field in a mammoth game that allowed the 49ers to win the NFC West title and earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked whether Sunday night’s game was as “locked in” as Garoppolo had been this season.
“I don’t know,” Shanahan said. “I probably think New Orleans was. I’d say this was a close second. I’d take either one.”
Garoppolo has yet to start a playoff game, but his performances in high-stakes games in New Orleans and Seattle suggest he’s equipped to handle the pressure.
His combined numbers from those games: 44 of 57 for 634 yards with four touchdowns, one interception and a 128.84 passer rating.
Against the Saints, he matched his career high with four touchdown passes — and lost his voice in the days after the game after screaming play calls, according to left tackle Joe Staley. Against the Seahawks, he matched his career-best completion percentage of 81.8.
On Sunday, he completed his first nine passes (for 120 yards) as the 49ers took a 13-0 lead. In the second half, when the Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first two drives to make it a one-score game, Garoppolo responded by directing two touchdown marches in which he completed 4 of 4 passes for 110 yards.
Garoppolo completed 7 of 7 passes for 129 yards in the second half.
“It was what he has been kind of doing all year,” Shanahan said. “He responded and the whole offense did.”
Indeed, Garoppolo headlined an offense that tied the 1998 team for the second most points in franchise history (479).
The 49ers entered the season as a long-running offensive embarrassment. They were one of three teams — with the Titans and Dolphins — that hadn’t ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in points or yards per game since 2003.
This season, they finished second in points and fourth in yards as Garoppolo had one of the best statistical seasons by a quarterback in franchise history: He now ranks fourth all-time in single-season passing yards (3,978) and completions (329) and third in completion percentage (69.1).
In addition, Garoppolo’s passer rating (102.0), which ranks seventh in franchise history, was the highest by a 49ers quarterback since Steve Young in 1997 (104.7).
Still, Garoppolo thinks there’s room for improvement in January, based on his response to a reporter who asked whether Sunday was his best game of the season.
“I think I have some room for improvement,” Garoppolo said. “… Some throws — I missed (wideout) Emmanuel (Sanders) on a pretty easy one. Missed a couple early, but for the most part I thought our offense played great tonight.”
After he missed 13 games with a torn ACL in 2018, Garoppolo is a contender for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
And he’s no longer contending with questions about his durability that arose because he’d suffered two significant injuries — the other to his throwing shoulder when he was with the Patriots in 2016 — in his first 10 career starts.
Garoppolo didn’t miss a regular-season start and played 99.3 percent of the offensive snaps, missing his only seven snaps of the season when Nick Mullens relieved him in a 51-13 win against the Panthers.
Unlike that laugher, the 49ers needed Garoppolo for every snap in New Orleans and Seattle. A loss in one of those games would have meant the 49ers would likely be on the road throughout the playoffs.
“He’s been extremely impressive, and it’s been great,” Shanahan said. “The good thing is I’m glad we’re going to be in our home stadium the next two games so we don’t have to worry about it.”
Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Eric_Branch
Among the best
Jimmy Garoppolo’s first full season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback ranks as one of the most prolific in franchise history:
1. Jeff Garcia (2000)
2. Steve Young (1998)
3. Steve Young (1993)
4. Jimmy Garoppolo (2019)3,978
1. Steve Young (1994)
2. Joe Montana (1989)
3. Jimmy Garoppolo (2019)69.1
1. Jeff Garcia (2000)
2. Steve DeBerg (1979)
3. Joe Montana (1983)
4. Jimmy Garoppolo (2019)329