San Francisco 49ers

Did 49ers blunder by sticking with QB Jimmy Garoppolo over rookie Trey Lance?

After the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Titans on Thursday Night Football, one question rose to the forefront for many followers of the team.

Did the 49ers make a mistake by sticking with veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this season over rookie QB Trey Lance? San Francisco dominated the first half of the game against Tennessee, but Garoppolo’s shortcomings were on full display early on and throughout the 20-17 loss.

Here’s some more insight on Garoppolo’s poor showing from Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The fact that Shanahan did nothing [the 49ers took a knee to end the first half] certainly seemed to say something about the confidence he had in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whose first-half errors were followed by more in the final two quarters and were the biggest reason the 49ers lost 20-17 to the Titans on Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal with four seconds left.

Garoppolo didn’t throw many incompletions, completing 26 of 35 passes for 322 yards, but many of his misfires were disastrous.

San Francisco Chronicle

The 49ers loss, which dropped San Francisco’s record to 8-7, left 95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill to muse about the start of the Trey Lance era, whenever that may be.

But should Lance have already been handed the keys to the 49ers by coach Kyle Shanahan?

Considering that the idea this season was for Garoppolo’s veteran savvy to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl run, I say that yes, Lance should have been the QB to start the campaign, or at least taken over weeks ago. San Francisco is in the thick of the playoff race and would be in the tournament if the regular season ended today, but it’s reasonable to believe the 49ers could have an 8-7 record with Lance learning on the fly.

In five games and one start, Lance has three passing touchdowns and one interception on 25-for-48 passing for 354 yards. He can run, too, and has 137 rushing yards on 30 carries, including a touchdown. Lance also passes the eyeball test with aplomb, and it’s easy to see why the 49ers moved up to the No. 3 spot in this year’s NFL Draft to select him.

In fact, the 49ers could have an even better record with Lance. Or at least it’s possible, especially considering Garoppolo’s disaster against the Titans. For an example, just look at the Patriots. They’ve started their own rookie quarterback, Mac Jones, and have a 9-6 record after a loss to the Bills this week.

Plus, the Patriots are better prepared for the immediate future. Their rookie QB is already learning what it takes to win in the NFL. Lance, on the other hand, saw how to lose a vital late-season game during Garoppolo’s poor showing against the Titans.

Luckily for San Francisco, it faces the lowly Texans next week at Levi’s Stadium. Perhaps Garoppolo can right the 49ers’ ship and prove Shanahan correct for sticking with him. But if Garoppolo makes more mistakes, the clamoring for Lance will only grow louder — and rightfully so.

But what do you think? Does Garoppolo still have what it takes to lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl? Or is Lance ready to take over? Plus: bonus info — Garoppolo didn’t practice on Monday due to a sore thumb. I wager he’ll be ready to go against the Texans, but we shall see.

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