The San Francisco 49ers are on the cusps of a playoff spot, believe it or not. After a year’s worth of the Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance saga, Lance finally got a perfect shot to prove his worth against the Houston Texans in Week 17.
With Garoppolo out due to an injured thumb, head coach Kyle Shanahan had no choice but to roll with the rookie. However, Lance more than answered the call, and Shanahan raved about the North Dakota State product after the game.
Trey Lance fills in for injured Jimmy Garoppolo and leads the 49ers to a victory
With Garoppolo out, the 49ers turned to Lance to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Well, that he did. The rookie quarterback stood tall and delivered, posting a 16-of-23 clip for 249 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Surprisingly, Lance finished the contest with only eight carries for 31 yards, mainly due to Elijah Mitchell’s massive 119-yard performance against the Texans’ defense.
Now, it came against the Texans, but Lance flashed promise. He showcased his arm talent on that touchdown throw to Deebo Samuel, and he overcame a three-point first half to score 20 unanswered in the second half and walk away with the victory.
The 49ers finally got another chance to see Lance, and he delivered when they needed it most. After the game, Shanahan couldn’t help but rave about his rookie’s performance.
Kyle Shanahan hits Trey Lance with a huge compliment after keeping San Francisco’s playoff hopes alive
Shanahan has been contemplating naming Lance as the starter since they selected him on draft day. Garoppolo won the job before the season, and then Lance filled in when Garoppolo was injured.
Since then, Garoppolo has done just enough to get by and keep the 49ers alive in the playoff hunt. But, after the latest injury to Garoppolo, Shanahan had no choice but to turn to Lance, and he’s sure glad he did.
The 49ers head coach continued to praise the rookie after a must-win contest (h/t Jake Hutchinson of KNBR).
“Nothing’s too big for him … I think he really enjoys the moments and I think it’s been hard for him not playing a ton this year. Now it’s up to Trey and us to keep working with him and pushing him.”Kyle Shanahan on the play of Trey Lance
That is some massive praise from Shanahan, and Lance sure did step up at the moment. Even though the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league, it isn’t easy to stand on the sidelines and answer the bell within a few days’ notice.
Yet, that’s what Lance did, and now the 49ers head into Week 18 with playoff hopes alive.
The question is, will Lance start in Week 18?
Who starts in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams?
Lance flashed promise and, most importantly, was able to secure a victory and move the 49ers to a 9-7 record. Now, the 49ers need a win over the Los Angeles Rams or a New Orleans Saints loss to the Atlanta Falcons to snag the final spot in the NFC.
The question is, do you roll out Lance again? Or do you go with Garoppolo?
Health is the number one factor, and Garoppolo’s status will be one to monitor heading into the final week of the regular season.
However, even with Garoppolo banged up going into Week 17, Shanahan remained hesitant to name Lance as the starter.
Even after Lance defeated the Texans, Shanahan still won’t tip his hand.
What is going on in San Francisco?
Regardless, the play of Lance in Week 17 was a step in the right direction, especially after the 49ers made it clear that they have an offseason plan with Garoppolo.
The quarterback carousel continues to spin in the Bay Area, although not for too much longer.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference