Shanahan praises Lance but leaves door open for Garoppolo ahead of crucial finale

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Kyle Shanahan praised an efficient and at times explosive performance from Trey Lance but did not rule out Jimmy Garoppolo returning and starting for the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18.

With Garoppolo sidelined due to torn ligaments in his thumb, rookie third overall pick Lance got the start and recovered from a shaky first half to help the 49ers to a 23-7 win over the Houston Texans.

Lance tossed a bad interception in the first half but appeared more settled after a field-goal drive to end the second quarter and subsequently threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 45-yard strike to Deebo Samuel, to put the Niners a win away from a playoff berth.

He finished the game 16 of 23 passing for 249 yards and also ran for a further 31 yards.

The Niners will reach the postseason for the second time in three seasons if they beat the 12-4 Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 or if the New Orleans Saints lose to the Atlanta Falcons. Should San Francisco lose and the Saints beat the Falcons, the Niners will miss out on the postseason.

That places the situation at quarterback into sharp focus, with head coach Shanahan leaving the door open to Garoppolo making a quick return despite reports he will need surgery after the season.

Asked if Garoppolo tried throwing on Saturday or Sunday, Shanahan replied: "I don't know if he threw today [Sunday]. I didn't even ask, just talking to him yesterday I had a pretty good idea that we weren't going to even push it today.

"I think he'll be able to do it this week. Still, that's just me giving you guys an honest guess. Hopefully, I'll have a better idea by Wednesday.

"If Jimmy's a hundred per cent healthy and could do everything, like perfect, then I would definitely go with Jimmy. I'm not just going to throw a guy in after one game like this, when Jimmy's been doing it for us all year.

"I think it's going to be hard for Jimmy to be a hundred percent, which is how most people are right now at this time of year. But Trey did a good job, if Jimmy can't go, we won't hesitate at all. But if we feel Jimmy can go and play confident, then Jimmy will be out there."

Assessing Lance's performance, Shanahan said: "I think he did some real good things, besides the bad interception, I thought he protected the ball real well.

"That was a big thing going into this game and he did a good job on all those except for one play. I think he was very efficient, just looking at his numbers. That big play at the end was huge. For the most part, he made some pretty good decisions running the ball.

"I thought the defense and special teams played really well. Holding them to three yards per play on defense, special teams, we've been down here over this last month and this at least felt like that was one of our better games in a while.

"I think that allowed us to be more comfortable on offense, start to get into a rhythm and not really press and just let it happen naturally."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting