With 2:12 remaining in the first quarter of the 49ers' 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took his first snap of the season on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.
As long as Garoppolo stays healthy, he'll take all the rest, too, as starter Trey Lance will miss the final 15 games with a broken ankle.
On that play, Garoppolo connected with Brandon Aiyuk for a 4-yard gain to set up a 33-yard field goal for Robbie Gould. But after releasing the football, he was smacked by Seattle pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu, the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
“I got hit pretty good,” Garoppolo told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. “So it kind of woke me up in a good way. I was happy about that. And then, honestly, after that, it was just playing ball.”
Garoppolo hit the Seahawks back on the 49ers' next possession, when he marched San Francisco 62 yards down the field in four quick plays to take a commanding 13-0 lead.
“I think the touchdown to [tight end Ross] Dwelley, obviously, gave me some confidence," Garoppolo told Breer. "Like, 'All right, now we're rolling. We’re playing football now.' "
Garoppolo found Dwelley wide open at the 22-yard line, and the tight end lumbered the rest of the way into the end zone.
As he returned to the 49ers' sideline after that throw, Garoppolo's box score looked perfect: 70 yards and one touchdown on 4-of-4 passing.
Garoppolo finished the game with 154 yards on 13-of-21 passing, but most importantly, a win -- an accomplishment that earned the veteran quarterback $350,000 in contract incentives.
After the game, Garoppolo was seen triumphantly walking off the field with both fists in the air, skipping towards the tunnel to thunderous applause from the 49ers Faithful. He even took time after media availability to sign autographs for fans.
“I don’t know, it’s really just a better appreciation for the fans and the atmosphere," Garoppolo said to Breer. "I sound like an old guy saying this, but when I was young, I really didn’t appreciate that part of the game. I was so locked into football and what’s happening on the field. And you need to have that.
"But there is a sense of, you got to smell the roses a little bit and look around.”
With Lance set to undergo season-ending ankle surgery, Garoppolo will have the next 15 games to take in all the sights and sounds -- as long as he fulfills the 49ers' goals of another deep postseason run.