San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan wasted little time throwing rookie quarterback Trey Lance into the fray during the 49ers’ season-opening game against the Lions.
After a preseason that saw Lance sub for starter Jimmy Garoppolo early and often, many still didn’t believe Shanahan would play Lance as much as he intimated he would. But Lance tossed the team’s first touchdown of the campaign, after Garoppolo had led the team down the field.
Here’s the historic highlight, courtesy of the 49ers’ official Twitter account.
This was Lance’s second snap of the drive, running for a short gain on his first. Garoppolo came back in and guided the team into scoring position, converting a crucial third down to wide receiver Mohamad Sanu. Then Lance threw his score to WR Trent Sherfield.
This QB situation is reminiscent of what the legendary Bill Walsh did with Joe Montana. Walsh would let veteran QB Steve DeBerg lead the team down the field before inserting Montana into the game with it was time to score six points.
It worked wonders for Montana’s confidence. Could the same happen with Lance? It certainly can’t hurt. But it appears that whenever Shanahan decides it’s time for Lance to take over, he’ll be ready to make the most of his opportunity.
Update: the 49ers held off a late Lions comeback and won, 41-33, behind quality play from Garoppolo. Though it’s feared that 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett may have torn his ACL in the fourth quarter. After that, the Lions went on their run. Still, San Francisco avoided a complete meltdown and are 1-0.