The 49ers’ Latest Injury to Jimmy Garoppolo Gives Trey Lance a Golden Opportunity

The San Francisco 49ers‘ quarterback situation has been one of the most interesting of the entire NFL campaign. After drafting Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the 49ers decided to roll with incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter.

All season, fans waited for Lance to take over the job, but it never happened. Now, the 49ers are fighting for a playoff spot and Garoppolo has been just good enough to get them to the brink of a playoff berth.

However, the latest injury to Garoppolo could finally force head coach Kyle Shanahan to stick with Lance once and for all — and the rookie has a perfect opportunity in Week 17.

Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a thumb injury against the Titans and is listed as doubtful against the Texans

After Week 16, reports surfaced about Garoppolo suffering an injury during the 49ers Thursday night loss to the Tennessee Titans.

A thumb injury is hard to overcome for a quarterback, but Garoppolo insisted that he felt “confident.”

Well, that isn’t very clear. He feels confident, but he is listed as doubtful and misses practice all week.

Even more telling is that the 49ers activated Nate Sudfeld from their practice squad, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, perhaps signaling that Garoppolo won’t be ready for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

So, now the 49ers have no choice but to start Lance, even if Shanahan doesn’t want to.

Trey Lance gets a perfect opportunity against the lowly Texans

With Garoppolo listed as doubtful, this means Lance will get the start once again for the 49ers. However, the fact that the 49ers were hoping for Garoppolo to play shows how little they trust the rookie.

Yes, big yikes indeed.

Whether Shanahan wants to or not, the 49ers have no choice but to start Lance with Garoppolo doubtful for Sunday’s contest.

The good news? Lance gets the lowly Texans defense in a perfect spot to prove that he is the quarterback of the future in the Bay Area.

The rookie hasn’t played since November 21 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and even then, he made a brief appearance in garbage time.

Lance hasn’t thrown a pass since October 10, when he went 15-29 against the Arizona Cardinals and added 89 yards on 16 carries.

The Texans defense is the one of the best scenarios for him to get back on the field, and if he plays well, it might be tough for Shanahan to ignore him for much longer.

Kyle Shanahan’s handling of Lance has been bizarre all year long

49ers quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo | Wesley Hitt/ Getty Images

Has Garoppolo played at a Pro Bowl level? No.

But, the 49ers are winning games, and Shanahan uses that to decide to turn away from Lance. Even if he isn’t the starter, at least try to involve in the running game and in the red zone especially.

But that hasn’t been the case, and even after Garoppolo was listed as doubtful, Shanahan still wasn’t ready to name Lance the starter just yet,


49ers HC Kyle Shanahan Endlessly Defending Jimmy Garoppolo Is Becoming a Tired Act

It has been a headache, but if they make the playoffs, then perhaps Shanahan will be forgiven. Nonetheless, the confidence of the rookie and future face of the franchise must be shaken after the way he has been treated this season.

Let’s see what Lance can do against the Texans — and potentially the rest of the season.

Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference