Editor's note: This story was first published Jan. 4, 2018.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- When football historians look back on the unique San Francisco 49ers' 2017 season, it's only logical that they break up how it's viewed into two distinct, though not quite equal, parts: The 11 games before Jimmy Garoppolo became the starting quarterback and the five games after he took that role.
As you'd expect from a team that managed to finish 6-10 after an 0-9 start and became the first team to win more than three games after such a dreadful beginning, there are plenty of statistical categories in which the 49ers dramatically improved during their winning streak.
Of course, no statistical improvement mattered more than the one that took place in the win column, where the Niners went 5-0 with Garoppolo as the starter and 1-10 with Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard under center. It's worth noting here that Garoppolo wasn't the lone reason for the turnaround, as a number of Niners improved over the course of the season, but it's impossible to ignore that he was the common denominator in the change.
In fact, there aren't many statistical categories in which the 49ers didn't enjoy profound improvement once Garoppolo took over. Even the defense, long the victim of an ineffective offense forcing it to stay on the field for too many snaps, turned into a top-10 unit once Garoppolo and the offense began regularly picking up first downs.
Sure, some will look at the Niners' slate of opponents down the stretch and use that to discredit some of the steps forward that were taken. But again, the Niners were 1-10 and the type of team opponents were using to bolster their own rankings before Garoppolo took over.
With that in mind, here's a deeper look into the statistical difference between the pre-Garoppolo Niners and the post-Garoppolo Niners. Obviously, this doesn't account for every statistic, but it does give an idea of just how many places the 49ers improved during the final month-plus.