The Associated PressDENVER (AP) — Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo each made a triumphant return to action Monday night when the San Francisco 49ers’ backups engineered a 24-15 preseason win over the Denver Broncos.
Sanders’ comeback overshadowed Garoppolo’s return.
After thoughts of his double-ankle surgery nearly brought him to tears in the tunnel before the game, Sanders caught a 5-yard pass from Joe Flacco on the Broncos’ first offensive play and added a 19-yard run on a reverse in his first game since tearing his left Achilles tendon in practice last December.
He also hauled in a 45-yard reception that was erased by left tackle Garett Bolles’ holding penalty, but what he lamented most was not scoring on the reverse.
“The old ‘E’ would have scored,” Sanders said.
Bolles’ penalty didn’t detract from Sanders’ big night.
“Unfortunately, we got the holding call,” Sanders said. “But it felt good to be back on the football field, making plays and exciting the crowd. This is my adrenaline rush.”
Garoppolo was glad to get back on the field, too, even though he went just 1 for 6 for zero yards and an interception in his first game since suffering a season-ending knee injury last September.
“It’s something I haven’t done in a year obviously, so I’ve got to knock the rust off,” Garoppolo said. “Thankfully we have a short week this week so we can bounce back quickly. First step of getting back into it.”
Garoppolo’s first pass was knocked down by defensive lineman Shelby Harris and his second one was intercepted by cornerback Isaac Yiadom when he was pressured by Bradley Chubb. His third pass was tipped and cornerback De’Vante Bausby broke up his fourth attempt.
Chris Harris Jr. pressured Garoppolo into an incompletion from his end zone before Garoppolo finally completed a screen pass to running back Matt Breida, who was corralled by Shelby Harris at the San Francisco 6 for no gain.