Garoppolo injury turns 49ers offense over to Trey Lance

NFL Dallas

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)Injuries to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helped derail two of the past three seasons for the San Francisco 49ers.

With rookie Trey Lance in place, the Niners should be in better shape to handle it this season if Garoppolo has to miss time with a calf injury.

Garoppolo hurt his right calf in the first half of a 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawkson Sunday and missed the entire second half.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that Garoppolo ”has a chance” to play this week.

”It wasn’t as bad as we thought it might have been,” Shanahan said. ”He’s in a lot of pain, still sore. Hopefully, by the time he comes in Wednesday, he’ll feel better then and he’ll have a good chance. If it hasn’t improved at all by Wednesday it will be a little bit longer.”

The Niners traded three first-round picks this offseason to take Lance third overall to give them a eventual replacement for Garoppolo and insurance if he got hurt again as he did in 2018 and ’20.

Now with another early season injury, Lance will have a chance to take over early.

Lance, who played only seven snaps the first three weeks, got the news that he would be stepping in just before the start of the third quarter and delivered an up-and-down performance with a game-plan that was not tailored to his strengths and with little work in practice with the starting offense.

The Niners went three-and-out on Lance’s first two drives as he was off-target on his two passes and couldn’t convert a third-and-4 run.

He fared better after that, taking advantage of a blown coverage to connect on a 76-yard TD pass to Deebo Samueland then led a late TD drive after the game had mostly been decided.

He finished 9 for 18 for 157 yards, two touchdowns, a 2-point conversion run and 41 yards rushing.

”I think he enjoyed the moment,” Shanahan said. ”I thought he did a good job making some plays, especially when some weren’t there with his feet. There were a couple of passes I know he’d like to have back. But it was really just getting that experience and talking to him about how it was and all the things that can happen on each one of those plays and how it pertains to next week.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Passes to Samuel. The third-year receiver is off to a stellar start this year after catching eight passes for 156 yards and two TDs in the loss. Samuel also had 189 yards in the opener and leads the NFL with 490 yards receiving. That’s the second most through four games in franchise history to Jerry Rice’s 522 in 1995 and the most in the NFL since Julio Jones had 502 in 2018.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Third-down penalties. After allowing Green Bay to convert three third downs by penalties last week, the Niners once again were hurt by defensive penalties at a key point. With Seattle leading by eight points early in the fourth quarter, Dee Ford lined up offsides to negate a third-and-6 stop near midfield. The Seahawks converted the third-and-1 and then extended the drive again when Dre Kirkpatrick was called for pass interference on third-and-10 from the 41.

Alex Collins ran for a TD two plays later to make it 28-13. That was the sixth time this season a San Francisco penalty on third down has given an opponent a first down, most in the NFL

STOCK UP

Trey Sermon. The third-round rookie was a healthy scratch in the opener and played just one snap before getting hurt in Week 2. But he was strong on Sunday with 19 carries for 89 yards.

STOCK DOWN

Trenton Cannon. Cannon provided a spark with a big kick return in Week 3, but made a couple of key blunders on Sunday. The first came on punt coverage when he appeared to be in position to down a punt inside the 5, but carried the ball over for a touchback. Seattle took advantage and drove for its first TD of the game. Cannon then fumbled a kickoff in the third quarter, setting up another TD.

INJURIES

The Niners got more favorable injury news when LT Trent Williams’ shoulder injury wasn’t as serious as initially feared. He is day to day … K Robbie Gould (groin) will miss some time after getting hurt in warmups and San Francisco will bring in kickers for workouts this week. …TE George Kittle is day to day with a calf injury that kept him out of practice for some time last week. … RB Elijah Mitchell should be able to practice after being held out of contact the past two weeks with a shoulder injury.

KEY NUMBER

1-6. The 49ers have just a 1-6 record at Levi’s Stadium since the start of the 2020 season with the only win coming last season against the Rams. San Francisco also lost all three games as the ”home” team in Arizona last year when they relocated there because of COVID-19 protocols.

NEXT STEPS

San Francisco visits undefeated Arizona on Sunday.

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