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For 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, 2019 debut is a disappointment in Denver

San Francisco Chronicle logo San Francisco Chronicle 8/20/2019 By Eric Branch

a group of people wearing costumes: DENVER, CO - AUGUST 19:  Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers sets to run the offense against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during a preseason National Football League game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) © Dustin Bradford / Getty Images DENVER, CO - AUGUST 19: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers sets to run the offense against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during a preseason National Football League game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on August 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) DENVER — General manager John Lynch recently said Jimmy Garoppolo’s recovery from last season’s knee injury has been “flawless.”

Garoppolo’s return to the field? It was the exact opposite.

The 49ers quarterback had a deeply flawed performance Monday night in his first game since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament 11 months ago.

Garoppolo’s stat line after his three series of work in a 24-15 win against the Broncos: 1 of 6 for 0 yards with an interception, which translates to a 0.0 passer rating.

BOX SCORE: 49ERS 24, BRONCOS 15

“It’s something I haven’t done in a year, obviously,” Garoppolo said. “So I’ve got to knock the rust off and everything … It’s the first step of getting back into it.”

Still, Garoppolo emerged with his sense of humor. Does he know what he would have done differently on his incompletions?

“Yeah,” he said, smiling, “I would have completed them.”

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It should be noted that it was the second preseason game. And Garoppolo was facing his first live game action in 330 days. And the 49ers were missing two starting offensive linemen. And Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley allowed two pressures by outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, who hit Garoppolo on his interception and applied heat on his near-interception that was dropped by cornerback De’Vante Bausby.

Still, it couldn’t be considered a confidence builder for Garoppolo. On Wednesday, his strong training camp had been interrupted by a pick parade when he threw interceptions on five consecutive passes in practice. And his uneven performance in his only three starts in 2018 contrasted with his 5-0 record in his miracle-worker debut with the 49ers in 2017.

So, no, the sky isn’t falling based on Monday’s performance. But it could be another reminder that although Garoppolo has a $137.5 million contract, he also has only 10 starts and 361 pass attempts in his six-year career.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan referenced Garoppolo’s inexperience more than once. And he noted he would have allowed Garoppolo to play more, if he wasn’t concerned about risking injury to the other starters. Garoppolo will likely play at least the first half Saturday at Kansas City.

“Jimmy hasn’t played a lot of football,” Shanahan said. “And then he missed last year. So it’s about getting him reps and different situations. And letting him play as much as possible. But you can’t keep all your other guys out there as much as possible. So we’re trying to deal with that as we go. And we’ll have him ready for Week 1.”

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The tone was set quickly Monday. Garoppolo’s first pass, on the game’s third play, was batted down at the line of scrimmage. And on his next snap he was hit by Chubb as he threw and the pass, intended for running back Matt Breida, who was running a go route, fluttered and was intercepted by cornerback Isaac Yiadom.

On Garoppolo’s second drive, his pass was tipped at the line and couldn’t be corralled by sliding wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Then, on third-and-6, Garoppolo stared down wide receiver Jordan Matthews in the right flat and Bausby jumped the route before dropping a potential pick-six.

“Bad decision,” Garoppolo said. “Can’t make that one. Corner is sitting on it.”

On Garoppolo’s final drive, his off-target short pass to rookie tight end Kaden Smith fell incomplete. His final pass was a screen to running back Matt Breida that went for no gain on second-and-16.

What did Shanahan say to Garoppolo after his evening was over?

“It was just ‘Sorry I couldn’t let you stay in there longer,’” Shanahan said. “It’s frustrating. But it’s not ‘Let’s sit there and freak out over two tipped passes and when he’s hit throwing a go route to the back out of the backfield that was a pick.’ I didn’t like the third-down (near-interception) that he threw.”

Garoppolo said he wasn’t concerned about his surgically repaired knee. And Shanahan said Garoppolo’s brace is the only reminder that he was injured last year.

“The guy’s been healthy since OTAs,” Shanaahn said. “We’re not worried about the knee right now. I just want to get him out there and get some reps and play football … We’re not too concerned about his injury. It’s about him playing.”

Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: ebranch@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Eric_Branch

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