In his second career NFL start, rookie quarterback Trey Lance gave 49ers fans a glimpse of what the future of the franchise will look like.
Lance’s deep 45-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel in the fourth quarter extended the 49ers’ lead in their eventual 23-7 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, and a new connection was introduced.
The Lance-Samuel touchdown was a sneak peek of what’s to come for the red and gold.
Lance, 21, finished 16-of-23 for 249 yards and had two touchdown passes in the second half to make up for his first-half interception. In the second half alone, Lance went 5-of-9 for 115 yards, with huge throws to Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo.
Lance's growth within the game showed from start to finish, and he’s only bound to get better with his natural talent and the playmakers around him.
And the rookie’s chemistry with key pieces to the 49ers’ offense like Deebo, Aiyuk and George Kittle will only improve with game reps.
Lance made his second NFL start after Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined due to a torn UCL in his right thumb that he suffered in the 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 23.
But the 49ers reportedly are remaining hopeful that Jimmy G will return against the Los Angeles Rams in the final week of the regular season.
However, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning, citing sources, that Garoppolo is expected to have surgery to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb during this offseason.
Even though Jimmy G is expected to make a full recovery, the quarterback’s health could impact the future of the 49ers, putting all eyes on Lance.
San Francisco hasn’t officially announced who will start against the Rams, and even if Lance is watching from the sidelines next week, his performance on Sunday proved he’s ready to grow over the years with the 49ers.
San Francisco ended up beating the Texans at home on Sunday in a critical win that kept their playoff hopes alive.
The 49ers can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Los Angeles Rams next week, or with a New Orleans Saints loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the final week of the season.