The important thing is that Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy. It has to be, because to focus on the 49ers quarterback’s performance in his first game action since tearing his ACL in Week 3 last season is to invite some serious collar-tugging.
“I wasn’t thinking about [my knee], so I was happy about that, said Garoppolo. “I forget that his knee was hurt,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. Great! Good. Focus on the positive. Do not focus on the fact that Garoppolo somehow threw five straight interceptions in practice last week, and definitely do not focus on his preseason debut against the Broncos Monday night.
Because—well, because this:
Garoppolo was 1-of-6 for zero yards and an interception, and a passer rating of zero point zero. Lotta zeroes. In order, Garoppolo’s throws over three series were
•batted down at the line
•picked off by Isaac Yiadom
•tipped at the line
•right into the hands of cornerback De’Vante Bausby, who dropped what should’ve been a pick-six
•behind his receiver
•a catch! A little dump to Matt Breida who was brought down at the line of scrimmage.
That was it for Garoppolo’s night, and he was bummed about not getting the chance to find a rhythm, but trying not to stress over a game that doesn’t count in the standings.
“Obviously a little frustrated,” Garoppolo said after the game. “But it’s the NFL, unfortunately we don’t get to play the whole game. ... You wish you could be out there for more so you could bounce back. ... It is what it is. It’s the preseason right now, so you just gotta take it in stride.”
It isn’t a huge surprise that Garoppolo was rusty in his first game action in 11 months, but he doesn’t have a ton of time to get right: just one more preseason game on Saturday, since starters don’t play in the fourth week of preseason.
It’s been a long time since Garoppolo started his career going 7-0 (including two wins with the Patriots), spurring the 49ers to sign him to a massive contract. But the Niners have to cling to that magical first season, because it definitely isn’t healthy to dwell on the fact that he’s only started eight games in San Francisco—same as Nick Mullens—or the fact that Mullens has a better touchdown rate and a lower interception rate.
About that contract. It’s ostensibly five years and $137.5 million, but in the way of NFL contracts, there’s an out. And it’s coming sooner than the Niners might’ve hoped, if they wanted to discern exactly what kind of QB they have in Garoppolo. San Francisco can cut Garoppolo after this season for a paltry $4.2M in dead cap money. If they do, that’d mean Garoppolo earned $60 million over two years. Good work if you can get it, but can Garoppolo keep it?