KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan vowed to keep Jimmy Garoppolo in Saturday night’s preseason game long enough for the quarterback to show he could get the offense into a rhythm.
That’s exactly what happened.
“It was definitely better than the week before, and that would have been hard not to do,” Shanahan said. “It was cool that they got to stay out there longer, get into a little bit of a rhythm.”
Garoppolo did his best to not pay attention to negative publicity after his unproductive 11 snaps Monday night in Denver, and he ended up playing 37 snaps with the first-team offense in Saturday’s 27-17 win over the Chiefs.
“You have to ignore it and just go play football,” Garoppolo said. “I thought it was a good step coming back here to K.C., the place where it all started. Just to get that out of the way, it’s another step in the right direction.”
During pregame, Garoppolo even went to the exact spot at Arrowhead Stadium where he tore his ACL last season to reflect on what he’s gone through since the injury happened.
“Pregame, I wanted to check on the spot,” Garoppolo said. “Once I did that, it was over with, time to move on.
“A lot has happened in the year since then. I don’t know, I just thought it’d be good to go back there and remember everything I’ve gone through.”
That moment might have been just what the quarterback needed. Over five separate drives, Garoppolo threw to 10 different receivers, and completed 14 of his 20 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown, giving him a 116.2 rating. Garoppolo’s longest throw was a 33-yarder to Richie James in the first quarter.
“It was good,” Garoppolo said. “It was a lot different than last week. Like I said, once you get the first first down, then you start to get into a rhythm. The run game was looking real good. I barely got touched except for the one sack, but the line blocked tremendously upfront. So, that makes everything a lot easier.”
Shanahan explained that the progress from Garoppolo’s first game back to his second is natural.
“It’s not a big surprise when a guy is out for a long time, especially coming off an ACL,” Shanahan said. “That’s just how football goes sometimes, especially in the preseason.
”Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. But it definitely did look that bad live. Today, everyone was on the page a little bit better.”
Shanahan reported that Garoppolo was relatively even-keeled throughout the week, but the coach did see a little emotion out of his signal-caller.
“A little bit,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy does get amped up sometimes, which I think can be a quality. It’s definitely a quality at times. Sometimes when it’s hard to focus, you have to bring them down a little bit, so you deal with that ebb and flow in games and throughout the week, throughout the season.”
Garoppolo’s productivity set the pace for the rest of the 49ers’ offense, which managed 23 first downs and 381 total yards over 68 total plays.
The next time Garoppolo will see live game action is Week 1 at Tampa Bay, as he’s expected to sit out next week’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.