Second-year Niners quarterback Trey Lance suffered an unfortunate ankle injury that may sideline him for the year.
That’s the emotional take to Sunday’s injury; on the business side, the San Francisco 49ers may be in a better position to make the playoffs with starter-turned-backup Jimmy Garappolo back as QB.
Jimmy G’s the full-time starter again, and Niners players are reportedly feeling better about their season with Garoppolo under center. Lance fractured his right ankle on a first-quarter tackle on Sunday, which will require surgery.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Silver, spirits are up in San Fran after Sunday’s win.
Silver writes, “This is the part no one wants to say publicly, but something several players and coaches enunciated privately in the wake of Sunday’s game — the 49ers are a better team right now with Garoppolo at quarterback than they were with Lance.”
Niners players appeared animated en route to their 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Lance’s lackluster debut in Week 1, a 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, took some air out of the high expectations to watch the North Dakota State product be a full-time starter. He completed 46 percent of his passes for 164 yards and an interception.
After an offseason of flipping between trading Garoppolo or keeping him as a backup, the team ultimately decided to bring him back on a new deal. That contingency plan is now paying off.
Silver added, “As two of these realists told me after the game, ‘I can’t say it, but you can.'”
Garoppolo capped his return on Sunday with 13 of 21 passing for 154 yards, two total touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Most fans considered Jimmy G as a viable starter last season. He was ultimately usurped on the depth chart for the glossier weapon in Lance: the 2020 third-overall pick whose improved arm and athleticism presented an untapped potential for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive schematics.
San Francisco reached the NFC Conference Championship with Garoppolo last season, which SF lost 20-17, to the Los Angeles Rams.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela