Jimmy Garoppolo had a historic return as the 49ers' starting quarterback on Sunday night against the Broncos. Not since Dan Orlovsky, in fact, has the NFL showcased such spectacle on TV. Dueling Russell Wilson in prime time, Garoppolo had San Francisco up 7-3 halfway through the third quarter. That's when, pressured in his own end zone, the veteran quarterback accidentally stepped out of his own end zone, rewarding Denver a safety and ensuring his place in future NFL gag reels.
Operating from the 49ers' 2-yard line after a strategic punt from Corliss Waitman, Garoppolo dropped back with Broncos defensive lineman Mike Purcell in pursuit. He got rid of the ball, but not before both of his feet crossed the back line of the end zone. And get this: the safety, which gave Denver two points and the ball back, might've been even better for the 49ers than if Garoppolo had stayed inbounds, seeing as his last-second pass was headed for a potential pick six.
Safety for the Broncos!— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2022
📺: #SFvsDEN on NBC
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/2rt05DqkHW pic.twitter.com/6WYeiK5BE7
The safety cut San Francisco's lead to 7-5, and the Broncos missed a potential go-ahead field goal on their ensuing drive. No one celebrated more, however, than Orlovsky himself, the former Lions backup who went viral for his infamous end-zone drop back in 2008. That year, filling in for an 0-16 team, Orlovsky rolled out while evading Vikings pass rusher Jared Allen, never realizing he'd clearly stepped out of bounds early in the play.
IVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) September 26, 2022