49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo shows improvement after poor preseason debut

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo is 'moving in the right direction,' feels great ahead of training camp

Jimmy Garoppolo vowed to fight harder after his lackluster debut against the Broncos last week, and the 49ers quarterback made true with his promise against the Chiefs.

In San Francisco’s 27-17 win at Kansas City Saturday, Garoppolo played the entire first half and finished his stint by completing 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

“I thought it was good,” Garoppolo said, via ESPN. “It was a lot different than last week. Once you get the first first down, you start to get into a rhythm. The run game was looking really good. I barely got touched. That makes everything a lot easier.”

Against the Broncos on Monday, Garoppolo went 1-for-6 for 0 yards and exited the game after three drives. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said afterward it would be “irresponsible” to overreact to Garoppolo’s poor outing.

It appears he was right — until last week, Garoppolo hadn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 23, when he tore his ACL and was out for the season.

“It’s not a big surprise, I think, when a guy is out for a long time and especially coming off an ACL,” Shanahan said. “But 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. And today everyone was on the same page a little bit better, we moved the chains a couple times, and you just get into a rhythm and you start forgetting about things and playing football.”

Garoppolo’s first quarter was a bit rough, with him going 3 of 6 for 32 yards and missing some intended targets with soft passes. However, he sharpened up in the second quarter, which is when he made his touchdown pass to Matt Breida.

Interestingly, Garoppolo’s positive performance came at Arrowhead Stadium, where he tore his ACL 11 months ago. Combined with the criticism of his last performance, Garoppolo said he was weirdly grateful to be back in Kansas City.

“All the hearsay and whatever noise is going to go on, 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., where it all started. So, just get that out of the way. It’s another step in the right direction.”