The mystery of the San Francisco 49ers and the case of the starting quarterback may have been solved. It seemed earlier this week that all signs point to Jimmy Garoppolo as QB1, and in the team’s 34-10 preseason win over the Las Vegas Raiders, it looks like it will be Garoppolo…followed by Trey Lance…and then Garoppolo…and then Lance, and so on and so forth.
Garoppolo and Lance were on rotation throughout San Francisco’s first two drives of Sunday’s game, with each quarterback recording a rushing touchdown. Garoppolo played 14 snaps, while Lance played 10. Garoppolo was 4-of-7 for 64 yards, while Lance had one run, one incomplete pass and eight handoffs. After the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the QB shuffle will be an option for the 49ers this season.
“I think that, in and of itself, benefits the team,” said Garoppolo. “We had two successful drives with it, scored on both of them. It’s tough for defenses to handle that. And I’ve never been in that situation, but just seeing it firsthand here today, it’s hard on them. So, whatever’s best for the team, I’m here for it. It’s one of those things that whatever’s best for the team, you’ve got to get behind that and be a part of that. And I think that makes you the best player you can be, too. So, it’s all tied together. We’re all in this thing together. And we’ll see where it goes.”
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) August 29, 2021
Garoppolo’s touchdown was a one-yard run in which he lowered his shoulder and got hit by two defenders, but came out unscathed, a part of what Shanahan called the QB’s “linebacker mentality.”
“If I would’ve got hurt, that would’ve been a terrible idea,” Garoppolo said after the game. “Yeah. But, knock on wood, thankfully good things came out of it. It’s just when you’re out there, you really can’t think of things like that. I know you’re supposed to, it’s just hard. Things happen in a split second. I tried to just submarine below the two of them. Didn’t work out so well, but I’m all healthy and everything. I feel good.”
The touchdown put a chef’s kiss on a 10-play, 68-yard drive.
Lance’s two-yard touchdown run capped off a 14-play, 75-yard drive and Lance basically walked right into the end zone.
“It was another zone read,” Lance said. “The end crashed, we brought [WR] Jalen Hurd in motion. And yeah, the end crashed so kind of probably one of the easiest rushing touchdowns I’ll probably ever have. But the offensive line did a great job and made it really easy.”
Once Garoppolo was done for the day, Lance was under center for four more series, going 6-for-13 for 46 yards, but those numbers are deceiving, as his wide receivers dropped three passes. Lance jammed his finger during the game, but it does not seem to be an area of concern.
“I don’t really honestly even remember what play it happened on,” Lance said. “But I think I jammed it, yeah. Like on a helmet or something. But yeah, no, I’m not worried about it. See how it feels tomorrow, for sure. I think it will tell a little bit more, but yeah, not too worried about it at all.”
Safety Jaquiski Tartt saw game action on Sunday for the first time since turf toe sidelined him late last season.
“To be honest, it’s been, this has been the toughest injury I’ve ever had to overcome,” Tartt said. “Initially I thought I was going to be back for the start of training camp and had a setback. And the setback was pretty much just trying to get flexibility in my toe. It was just being tough on me. But I mean, the training staff, everybody got together, got a good plan for me and the plan, it was a good plan. And now I’m here.”
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) August 30, 2021
Tartt played about 25 plays on Sunday.