On Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, Garoppolo came out swinging and in the process alleviated some of the concern that followed his difficult outing against the Broncos.
Garoppolo played the entire first half, a total of 37 snaps, and finished 14-of-20 for 188 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 116.2. He also helped wipe away some of the residue of Monday’s game and the five-interception practice that preceded it five days earlier.
“He got to play longer,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on the game broadcast on KPIX TV in San Francisco. “He got a few more opportunities.”
Garoppolo’s bounce-back performance just so happened to come in the same stadium where he suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament on Sept. 23 of last season.
On Thursday, Garoppolo acknowledged that it would be a bit “weird” being back at Arrowhead Stadium — a coincidence that Shanahan said would be “eerie” for his quarterback. He also wanted to focus on erasing the Denver game.
“At some point you have to move on,” Garoppolo said Thursday. “You’re still trying to correct those mistakes and not make the same mistakes twice, but if you just dwell on the past and dwell on that one game, you’re going to get stuck there and have no success going forward. I think it’s good to be hard on yourself, but at some point you have got to move forward.”
After missing on his first throw and having another wiped out by a holding penalty on Kansas City, Garoppolo hit wideout Kendrick Bourne for 18 yards, the first positive gain on a throw for Garoppolo in this preseason.
From there, Garoppolo seemed to settle in and find a rhythm. On the Niners’ second drive, Garoppolo completed all four of his passes for 75 yards, including a perfectly placed pass down the right sideline for a gain of 33 yards on third-and-3.
On the next play, Garoppolo floated a pass down the left sideline that running back Matt Breida made a difficult diving catch on for a 20-yard touchdown.
Before his night was over, Garoppolo even took his first sack since the injury, as Kansas City’s Frank Clark dropped him for a loss of 7 yards to end the offense’s third possession.
The 49ers went on to win 27-17.
Saturday’s start likely will be the end of Garoppolo’s preseason. Shanahan has previously said he does not intend to play Garoppolo or most of the starters in the preseason finale.