Why Lance hasn't played in three straight 49ers games

Trey Lance

The last time Trey Lance took a snap, he threw for 192 yards and led the 49ers with 89 rushing yards in a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5. He served as the 49ers' starting QB for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo that week, but has not seen the field since. 

The 49ers had a bye week following the loss to the Cardinals and Lance was ruled out the following week with a knee injury he sustained against Arizona. But in Weeks 8, 9 and 10, he has stood on the sidelines at full health. That begs the question, was there a decision made that Garoppolo would take all the snaps in these last three games? 

Not exactly. 

“No, I haven't made that decision," Shanahan on Monday after the 49ers' 31-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams. "The only time I did that really was Chicago week. Then Arizona, the game just didn't go the way we wanted. Going into this game, we didn't like a lot of the stuff, just matchup-wise in terms of what the Rams did, so still had it up.

"But we didn't see it as changing the defense or giving us too big of an advantage, so that's why we didn't go with it.”

The question of course comes after Garoppolo's best game of the season, and perhaps his best in quite some time. He completed 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Garoppolo didn't turn the ball over and only sacked him once. 


Shanahan of course has an extremely complex offense, one that takes years to master. That isn't an easy task for a rookie like Lance, especially since the North Dakota State product played in just 17 collegiate games. His knowledge of the offense, though, isn't something that the head coach is worried about right now.

“Trey's got the whole playbook in his head and he was able to do that in training camp," Shanahan said. "If you work at it, you're going to learn it all, but it's about going through at full speed. It's about going through it at a game-time tempo and going against the blitzes and all that stuff that can surprise you and knowing when a play is a good play and when it's a bad play. When you've got to get out of something, when you got to get to the number four choice in the progression, as opposed to the one you practiced in the week.

"So that just comes with experience and he's getting more and more of it and you can never get too much.”

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That also comes with game reps, but if Garoppolo keeps getting the job done as he did against the Rams, Lance likely will continue watching from the sidelines.

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