Jaw-dropping Jimmy Garoppolo has 5-10 team talking Super Bowl

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Carlos Hyde talked about the San Francisco 49ers as a Super Bowl team — at least for next season. The mood in the Jacksonville Jaguars was much more low-key even though they clinched their first division title.

It was hard to tell which was the 10-win team heading to the postseason and which was the 10-loss team with just one game left in the season.

Jimmy Garoppolo passed his toughest test yet in his near-perfect start to his 49ers tenure, throwing two touchdown passes and running for a third against the NFL’s top scoring defense to lead San Francisco to a 44-33 win over the Jaguars on Sunday.

The win was the fourth straight since Garoppolo took over as starter for San Francisco (5-10) and left Hyde predicting big things in the future for a franchise that looked lost a little over a month ago during an 0-9 start to the season.

Garoppolo, who was well schooled by New England coach Bill Belichick in avoiding bold proclamations, seemed a bit surprised by Hyde’s prediction.

“I’ll talk to him about that,” he said. “I don’t know. We’re dealing with the Rams next weekend. We’ll look at everything else after that.”

Garoppolo probably wouldn’t have approved of fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s comments about him, either.

“Max the man out,” Juszczyk said, via ESPN. “He deserves it. I think he’s everything that we’ve been looking for.”

That there is even that kind of lofty talk in San Francisco is remarkable considering where this team was just past the midpoint of coach Kyle Shanahan’s first season.

But Garoppolo has changed all of that with his top-flight play since taking over as starter following the mid-season trade from the Patriots. What he did against a Jaguars defense that entered the game as the top-ranked unit in scoring and passing defense might have been his best performance yet.

“As long as you have a good quarterback, you have a good chance of winning the game,” Hyde said. “That’s been our thing right now. Things haven’t always been good here but it’s definitely changing and things are definitely getting better and the future is bright.”

The Jaguars (10-5) still have plenty to play for after clinching the division with Tennessee’s loss earlier in the day. But they lacked composure as evidenced by a sideline argument between Malik Jackson and Aaron Colvin and three personal fouls that helped fuel two touchdown drives.

The loss left Jacksonville needing a win next week and two Pittsburgh losses to get a bye.

“It’s tough. When we’re on the field we can’t allow things like that to happen,” Colvin said. “That’s probably our biggest opponent is ourselves, when we beat ourselves. We have to fix that issue. We can’t go into the playoffs like that. Today was just an odd situation. We’re not really that kind of team. We’ll be better.”