Shanahan explains why Lance didn’t see field vs. Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
CHICAGO — There were moments Sunday that might have been perfect for Trey Lance to enter the game. The 49ers’ offense was sluggish in the first half, had trouble converting on third downs, and was in desperate need of a spark.
That spark came in the second half, but not from Lance. The rookie quarterback took zero snaps in the 49ers’ 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field as Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and rushed for two touchdowns in the red zone to snap the 49ers’ four-game losing streak.
One of Garoppolo’s touchdown runs came on a broken play, and the other was a quarterback sweep to the left for a 5-yard score that put the 49ers up for good in the fourth quarter.
Coach Kyle Shanahan did not consider bringing in Lance, who just recovered from a knee sprain, on either of the red-zone possessions that ended with Garoppolo galloping into the end zone.
“I wanted to be safe with the packages for him this week,” Shanahan said after the win. “It was his first week back, so I wasn’t going to just put him in there just to run stuff like that. So he was ready to go if Jimmy got hurt.”
With Lance active but spending all of his time becoming adept at using the Microsoft Surface, Garoppolo shook off a rough start and put together what was his best game in almost two years in front of his hometown crowd.
Garoppolo has been heavily criticized during the 49ers’ four-game losing streak, but now finally healthy, Shanahan liked what he saw from his veteran quarterback Sunday in Chicago.
“I mean, I thought he played real well,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo. “He seemed to — he didn’t — I don’t think anything was bothering him as much in the game. Seemed healthier. But I thought he had a hell of a game and thought guys made some plays for him too. Thought it was a real good day for the offense.”
It didn’t start out that way, though. The 49ers’ offense kicked field goals on all four of their first-half drives — with Joey Slye connecting on three attempts — and trailed 13-9 at halftime.
The 49ers’ offense finally got the jolt it needed in the third quarter in the form of Deebo Samuel.
Trailing the Bears 16-9 and facing a third-and-19 at their own 16-yard line, Shanahan dialed up a pop-screen to Samuel, hoping to get some yardage and flip the field. But the 49ers blocked the play perfectly and Samuel sprinted 83 yards before being pushed out at the 1-yard line.
Three plays later, Shanahan dialed up another play for Samuel, but this one broke down and Garoppolo took it upon himself, plunging into the end zone from 2 yards out to bring the 49ers to within one after Slye missed the PAT.
From that point on, the 49ers’ offense rolled over the Bears, racking up 467 yards while not allowing a sack or committing a turnover.
Right now, Shanahan has Lance in a “Break Glass In Case Of Emergency” box. And on Sunday, there was no emergency for a 49ers’ offense that found new life in the Windy City.