SANTA CLARA -- Trey Lance gained valuable experience Sunday with his first extended NFL playing time.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan didn't sound ready to hand the team’s offense over to the rookie quarterback as long as Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy enough to play. However, Garoppolo said he is hopeful he is out for only a couple of games.
It looks as if Lance will remain on the field -- whether he is fully ready or not.
“Trey’s done a good job, and we feel like he’s getting better each week, but that’s why he’s the No. 2 quarterback going into this game,” Shanahan said following the 49ers’ 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.
Lance was called into action to open the second half with the 49ers and Seahawks tied at 7 when Garoppolo could not continue due to a right calf injury. The 49ers should know more about Garoppolo's status within the next day, Shanahan said.
The 49ers return to action in Week 5 game at the Arizona Cardinals, and it appears Lance will have a week of preparation before making his first NFL start.
On Sunday, he was pressed into action at the beginning of the third quarter with little notice.
“We have packages in for him and stuff, but the game plan wasn’t built for him,” Shanahan said of Lance, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“You do the openers and all the second-half adjustments, but didn’t really realize Jimmy wasn’t going to come out until the last minute. So we had to make some moves on the fly and do some stuff that he was comfortable with and we got better with it as we went.”
After experiencing struggles on the first two drives of the second half, Lance settled down and led the 49ers to a quick touchdown on a 76-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel.
Lance led another scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. He found Samuel on an 8-yard touchdown pass. Then, Lance ran in the two-point conversion.
While rookie quarterbacks, such as top-two picks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, are struggling around the NFL, Shanahan does not want to put Lance into the action until he believes he is more ready for the challenge.
“I thought he ran the ball well,” Shanahan said. “[He] hit some passes, obviously, missed some passes. Was in tough situation when we got down two scores and did a good job moving the chain a couple times with his legs.”
Lance gained 41 yards rushing on seven attempts. He completed nine of his 18 pass attempts for 157 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 117.1.
“Regardless of what is happening, he always has a chance to make a play,” Shanahan said. “And that’s what he did. I think it was good for him to take us down on that scoring drive at the end, but it takes some time to play in this league, as you guys have seen throughout.
“It’s about know where to get rid of the ball. When to try to make those plays, when to check it down, have other guys do it for you. When to hang in the pocket, when to escape the pocket. He got a lot of real NFL game experience with that today. And hopefully he’ll get better from it.”
Garoppolo completed 14 of 23 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown with one interception in the first half.