49ers’ Kyle Shanahan Underwhelmed by Trey Lance’s Week 4 Performance

Trey Lance

Getty Trey Lance saw his first significant regular season playing time after starter Jimmy Garoppolo went down in the first half against the Seahawks.

San Francisco 49ers rookie QB Trey Lance played his first full half of regular season football in the NFL in Week 4. The third overall draft pick threw for two touchdowns in the team’s 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, managing to go down in the NFL history books along the way.

But reactions on his performance were mixed.

First the good:

After taking over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo at the start of the second half, Lance eventually connected with Deebo Samuel for a 76-yard touchdown pass on what appeared to be busted coverage by the Seahawks’ secondary. Nevertheless, it was the second of Lance’s young career after he threw a 5-yard touchdown to Mohamed Sanu in San Francisco’s Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions.

In both instances, the touchdown passes came on Lance’s first completion of the game. In doing so, NBC Sports Bay Area and ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner pointed out, Lance became the first NFL quarterback in more than 40 years to have his first two career completions go for touchdowns.

Lance finished Week 4 with 157 yards and two scores on nine of 18 passing.

But Lance’s overall performance looked disjointed at times in a game that didn’t seem as close in the end as the final score indicated. He missed by wide margins on his first couple of throws. He scrambled for 41 yards but even some of those runs looked like a young quarterback taking off where a more experienced quarterback would have finished his wide receiver progressions.

So, did it look like the future has started for San Francisco?


Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s first impression of the rookie’s performance consisted of “some good, some bad” but the overall performance was far from perfect, he said.

“It looked like a typical first game,” Shanahan told reporters in his postgame press conference following the loss. “That’s why he’s the No. 2 quarterback going into that game.”

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Lance Says He Was Ready to Run Entire Offense

Trey Lance

GettyOne teammate said Trey Lance looked like he was getting more comfortable as the game against the Seahawks went on.

How much of the offense was Lance prepared to execute?

It depends on whom you ask.

Shanahan told reporters that the game plan changed once Lance entered, including play calling.

“We have packages in for him and stuff, but the game plan wasn’t built for him,” Shanahan said of Lance. “We had to do some stuff that he was comfortable with.”

Shanahan added that Lance didn’t have a large margin for error given the situation he entered. Tied at 7 at halftime, the 49ers quickly trailed the Seahawks 21-7 in the third quarter.

“He was in a tough situation there when we were down two scores,” Shanahan said.

Lance told reporters after the game that the play calling wasn’t pared down to match his command of the offense, and that he was as prepared to play as he ever could be.

“I stay ready mentally, physically, whether it’s walk-through, practice, virtual reality, whatever it is, I try to do the most through the week to keep myself prepared,” Lance said.

He dismissed the idea that he could only work with a select package of plays when he was asked about it.

“The general offense is football,” he said. “You run the offense how it’s supposed to be ran.”

Lance also downplayed the idea that he grew more confident as the game wore on.

“I don’t want to say nerves or adrenaline or anything like that because I’d been in games before and I’m thankful for that. I was prepared for the situation, I felt.”

49er Fullback: Lance’s Success ‘Will be Contagious’

Jimmy Garoppolo

GettyJimmy Garoppolo left the game against the Seahawks at halftime due to a calf injury.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk told NBC Sports Bay Area that it’s nearly an impossible task to expect any backup quarterback to enter a game at the halfway point and be fully prepared.

“That’s a lot to put on anybody’s plate, whether you’re the third overall pick in the draft or not,” Juszczyk told reporters.

Although Lance himself downplayed the notion that his comfort level and confidence grew as the game progressed, the bruising fullback said he sensed that was indeed the case as the game went on.

“I felt a little bit of that later in the game today,” Juszczyk said.

Garoppolo’s status will be updated this week. The veteran starting quarterback is set to undergo an MRI on Monday, October 4. His injury occurred when he was stepped on in the first half, and some early reports say he could miss as many as three weeks.

If Lance does take the reins for that long, Juszczyk said he’s excited to see what the dynamic talent can do with a full week of preparation as the starter. The fullback described Lance as a player whose energy and confidence is infectious to other teammates. Lance, himself, told reporters he’s excited to learn from the game film and get better in time for the upcoming Week 5 tilt versus the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

“I’m looking forward to Trey getting some success under his belt,” Juszczyk said. “It will be contagious.”

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