49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo returns to form
In his second game action since the knee injury he sustained in Kansas City last season, Garoppolo returned to the scene of the crime, and quickly returned to his previous franchise-quarterback form.
Garoppolo entered the team’s final tune-up game of the preseason hoping he knocked all the rust off during his ugly performance the previous week against the Dallas Cowboys. Garoppolo finished his first game back from ACL surgery with a less-than-impressive stat line of one completion for zero yards and an interception on six passing attempts.
Along with Garoppolo’s poor showing came a fair share of criticism. Some of it was warranted, as the quarterback lacked his normal level of poise and confidence in the pocket. However, Garoppolo’s statistics — including his quarterback rating of zero — didn’t tell the entire story, particularly that his makeshift offensive line shouldered much of the blame for his six ineffective pass attempts.
Still, there was a combination of fear and worry felt by members of The Faithful in the lead up to Saturday’s preseason “rehearsal game.” But those feelings were quickly put to rest by Garoppolo, who played the first half of the contest mostly rust-free.
Garoppolo’s first series stalled after he drove the offense 43 yards on 11 plays, but the rust — and the training wheels — didn’t come off until the 49ers’ second drive of the game.
Suddenly, San Francisco’s QB was the Jimmy G of old as he completed a 16-yard pass to move the chains on a third-and-long attempt. Three plays later, Garoppolo went deep on third down, dropping a 33-yard dime into the hands of James, who nearly took the pass the distance. Garoppolo wasted no time finishing off the touchdown drive, as he lobbed this pass into the corner of the endzone where only Breida could make the play:
Garoppolo led the 49ers into the red zone on two more scoring drives, but the team was forced to settle for a pair of field goals — the first, after tight end Ross Dwelley dropped a third-down pass, and the second, due to poor clock management by Shanahan.
The day was far from perfect for Garoppolo. But compared to his last game, leading the team into scoring range on four of five drives is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers’ signal-caller needed to gain the confidence necessary to start the regular season — while also silencing the critics.