Jimmy Garoppolo tried his best to make Sunday just another game on the schedule. But ever since the New England Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers on Halloween in 2017, the quarterback had been waiting to face his old team again.
Garoppolo finally got his chance to face coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and he came away victorious Sunday in a 33-6 blowout win over New England. The moment the 49ers' bus pulled up to Gillette Stadium, waves of emotions hit the 28-year-old QB.
“I tried to tell myself all week that it was just gonna be a normal game,” Garoppolo told NBC Sports' Peter King after the win. “Tried to mentally prepare like that. Honestly once the bus pulled up and I saw the stadium and everything, it kind of all hit me right then.
"I don’t know, just seeing familiar sights. The Patriots still play the same songs that they played for like the intros and between quarters.”
And then Garoppolo started off a perfect 7-for-7 before being intercepted. He was far from his best, completing short passes and riding the 49ers' dominant run game. Garoppolo finished the day completing 20 of his 25 pass attempts with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
None of that mattered to Garoppolo, though. He left Foxboro, Mass. with a win against his old team and said he "couldn’t imagine it going any better than this.”
In the end, Garoppolo seemed relieved the much-anticipated game was over with.
"Today had a different feel obviously without Tom being here, without the fans being here," Garoppolo said. "Kind of built it up in my head a little more. It was just ... I mean, talk about just an emotional roller coaster. Then the game happens -- it just seemed like it flew by. Honestly, it happened in the blink of an eye.
"Before I knew it, we were in the fourth quarter running the clock out. It was everything I could’ve asked for to come back here, really just get back to where it all started."
As the 49ers' tough schedule continues with games against the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in a five-day span, Garoppolo is ready to just focus on the field instead of outside noise.
“I can’t lie to you,” he said to King. “I do want that. ... You’re right -- it’ll be good to be all football now.”