Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo on the wisdom of his head-first preseason touchdown

Aug 29, 2021 at 6:06 PM--

Jimmy Garoppolo's rushing touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday wasn't exactly the type of thing one would expect or want to see out of an oft-injured quarterback, but in this case, all was well that ended well.

It hasn't always worked that way for Garoppolo, who missed most of the 2018 season with a torn ACL, then missed a large portion of the 2020 season with ankle issues. The lack of availability Garoppolo has had due to those injuries played a part in the 49ers' decision to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select a quarterback of the future in Trey Lance. Given all that, one would think Garoppolo wouldn't consider diving head-first into a couple of Raiders defenders to score a touchdown in a preseason game, but that's exactly what happened at the end of the opening drive of the 49ers' 34-10 win on Sunday.

Garoppolo had been shuffling in and out of the game with Lance during the first two drives of the game and was on the field during a 3rd-and-goal play at the end of the first drive. He rolled out on a bootleg, then saw an opening to get to the end zone and went for it, colliding with two Raiders defenders in the process.

Was that the best idea? Probably not, but Garoppolo got caught up in the moment.

"If I would have gotten hurt, that would have been a terrible idea, yeah," Garoppolo said after the game. "But knock on wood, thankfully good things came out of it. When you're out there, you really can't think of things like that. I know you're supposed to; it's just hard. Things happen in a split second. I tried to just submarine below the two of them -- didn't work out so well. But I'm all healthy and everything and feel good."

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan probably would have liked to see Garoppolo dump the ball off to fullback Josh Hokit, who was in Garoppolo's sight during the play. But Garoppolo chose the more physical road, which Shanahan admires.

"That's Jimmy," Shanahan said. "You guys have seen him lower his head and run a number of times since he's been here. Jimmy's kind of got a linebacker mentality. I'm all for him throwing it to Hokit in the flat too, but I kind of like that about Jimmy too. I'd never want him to risk himself and get hurt, but I think that's why guys fight for him."

Still, despite that, Shanahan would have rather had Garoppolo not risk his health in that situation, or in any situation for that matter.

"I say that to him every single time," Shanahan said. "You don't want guys to lower their shoulder and risk getting hurt at anytime. So I'd always prefer to throw to the guy but sometimes it's hard to avoid that stuff in football."

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