Photo credit: ftw.usatoday.com
By: Joe Lami
Jimmy Garoppolo fell flat in his much-anticipated return to the football field on Monday night versus the Broncos. Garoppolo started the first three drives and looked flat-out terrible. He finished 1-of-6 for zero yards with one interception and a 0.0 QB rating. On top of the pick and sack, Garoppolo had two balls batted down at the line and should’ve thrown a second pick that was dropped.
The good news is it’s early. Garoppolo hasn’t played any meaningful football since week three of last season and was obviously not comfortable on Monday. Looking skittish and nervous in the pocket, Garoppolo still has a long way to go before he’s close to where he needs to be. Saturday will be huge for his development and confidence as he gears up for the season.
Garoppolo also didn’t great offensive line helped, as the Broncos front seven got in Garoppolo’s face on half his throws. Bradley Chubb picked up two QB hits, including one on the interception that made Joe Staley look silly.
Aside from Garoppolo, the Niners looked pretty good overall in the 24-15 victory. They rushed for a combined 185 yards but only passed for 85. Raheem Mostert was noticeable finishing with 58 yards on six carries.
Deebo Samuel once again flashed his top speed on a 45-yard sweep play, bringing the ball within the one; setting up a touchdown. NFL NextGen clocked him in at 20 MPH, matching Tyreek Hill’s average speed.
The defense continued to bend and not break and allowed their first touchdown of the preseason with only eight seconds remaining. DJ Reed and Jaquaski Tartt looked excellent in the secondary. Reed finished with six tackles, a pass deflection, and QB hit; while Tartt had five tackles, two for loss, and a breakup. As a team, San Francisco had five sacks and forced a turnover.
Battle for Backup
The backup race still remains intriguing. CJ Beathard earned the majority of the snaps on Monday; completing 5-of-11 for 81 yards, marching the Niners to two of their three touchdowns. Mullens completed 2-of-3 passes for 27 yards and a touchdown pass to Kenrick Bourne on a fade.
Richie James Jr. is starting to make his case for the 53-man roster. While he hasn’t added a ton on offense, his return ability should be admired. He picked up 80 yards on two returns, including a 48-yarder.