SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Francisco 49ers football started with a bang Sunday.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, that bang was the game-ending gun.
It took the former New England Patriot just two passes to get his new team into the end zone in his 49ers debut, which was prompted when starter C.J. Beathard, the former Iowa quarterback, suffered a bruised knee when hit following an incompletion with 1:07 remaining in the 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Garoppolo ran for four yards, hit Aldrick Robinson for eight yards with his first pass and, as time was expiring, expertly escaped the Seattle pass rush by rolling to the left and finding Louis Murphy in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.
“Murph made a great catch. The offensive line gave me some time. I had to scramble a little bit,” Garoppolo recalled. “It was a nice play by everybody.”
San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan praised Garoppolo for making the Aaron Rodgers-type play, but wouldn’t go as far as to anoint him the starting quarterback moving forward.
“We’re going to watch the tape, see how guys feel,” said Shanahan. “Those plays (by Garoppolo) have nothing to do with anything. That’s just running around and (he) made a great play. But those have no bearing on (who starts next week) at all.”
Beathard will be examined Monday.
49ers strong safety Eric Reid did not take kindly to hearing some cheering in the remaining crowd while Beathard was lying on the field.
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“Our starting quarterback got hurt and people are cheering before he even stands up. That (angers me),” the veteran insisted. “I understand the excitement about Jimmy, but that isn’t right. I’m disappointed in our fans.”
Actually, 49ers fans demonstrated their dislike for Shanahan’s decision to start Beathard over Garoppolo well before the game-ending sequence.
First off, the stadium was more than half-empty from the get-go, which was due equally to an unseasonably blustery day and the midweek announcement that Garoppolo would not be starting.
Those fans remaining halfway through the game then booed the 49ers off the field, sending a clear message to Shanahan, whose team was losing just 7-3.