Jimmy Garoppolo appears set to be available for Saturday's NFC divisional round clash with the Green Bay Packers despite an injury scare, according to San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers quarterback was not listed on the franchise's injury report on Thursday and is expected to play through a sprained right shoulder and thumb.

San Francisco had more good news with linebacker Fred Warner also not on the injury report after a sprained right ankle while defensive end Nick Bosa is close to clearing concussion protocols to mark his return.

"He threw the ball great. He's looked as good as he did the week before," Shanahan said about Garoppolo.

"Jimmy's been playing through some things. But that's why he's full go because he's good enough to go and we don't treat it any differently."

Garoppolo had been added to the 49ers injury report on Monday with Shanahan revealing he had a "slightly" sprained throwing shoulder from the 23-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The QB offered no guarantees on Tuesday and was limited in practice that day but was listed as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

"It's playoff football," Garoppolo said earlier in the week. "We know what time it is and there ain't no time to rest right now."

The Arizona Cardinals continued their excellent road form as they edged the Dallas Cowboys 25-22 in a potential-playoff preview with Kyler Murray leading the way on Sunday.

The Cardinals improved their season record to 11-5 and their road record to 8-1, snapping a three-game skid, with Texas-born Murray throwing two touchdowns as he completed 26 of 38 attempts for 263 yards.

The Cowboys had trailed 22-7 at the final charge but stormed back into contention as Dak Prescott threw three TD passes for the game but Murray expertly managed the clock late.

Murray found Antoine Wesley for two TDs including a spectacular catch in the third quarter, while Jonathan Ward made a remarkable helmet catch on a fake punt.

The Cowboys lost Michael Gallup to injury upon his second-quarter receiving touchdown and did not return, not helping their cause.

Prescott, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 226 yards along with 20 rushing yards, found Cedrick Wilson and Amari Cooper for final-quarter TDs to tighten the game but he also had a costly fumble at 22-14.

Chargers snap skid as Williams scores 101-yard return

The Los Angeles Chargers snapped a two-game skid with a 34-13 victory over the Denver Broncos to boost their Wild Card hopes as they improve to a 9-7 record.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns, breaking the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes at 35.

Andre Williams scored a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Austin Ekeler returned to LA's line-up and was important, with 17 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 54 yards.

 

Lance leads 49ers to key win in Wild Card race

Trey Lance stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and provided two touchdown passes as the San Francisco 49ers won 23-7 over the Houston Texans.

Lance completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with the two TDs and an interception to help the 49ers improve to 9-7 in the NFC Wild Card pursuit.

Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell scored the touchdowns as the 49ers scored 20 second-half points to secure the win.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is bullish that he can play through his right thumb injury in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

The 49ers are 8-7 in the NFC West and can secure a playoffs berth with victory against the Texans.

Garoppolo, who will be a key part of their postseason bid, only threw under supervision at the team's Wednesday practice but said he was "definitely" a chance to play.

"I played the entire game with it basically, so it's really just about being able to grip the ball and do the things I normally do and we're gonna go test those out today, see how it feels and go from there," Garoppolo told reporters. "But I feel confident in it."

Garoppolo had missed the 49ers' bonus practice on Monday as he waiting for swelling in the thumb to subside.

"We'll see how it looks today," Garoppolo added on Wednesday. "If it looks good, it looks good. If it looks bad, it looks bad.

"It's just one of those things that you have got to test it out and go through it. Until we do that, it will be hard to say. But we'll all be on the same page and we'll do the right thing for the team."

The 49ers QB continued: "It's a torn ligament so it is what it is. The pain, it's not going anywhere so I know what that feels like but it's just about being confident and going out there and being able to do what I normally do with the football. We'll see where it gets us but I feel good right now with it."

Garoppolo has a completion rate of 68 percent this season for 3,494 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 14 games.

If Garoppolo is not deemed fit, rookie Trey Lance will be in line to make his second NFL start having filled in against the Arizona Cardinals on October 10.

Jimmy Garoppolo was absent as the San Francisco 49ers resumed practice on Monday fuelling doubts about his availability for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

The 49ers quarterback has been battling a thumb injury which was aggravated in Thursday's 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Garoppolo's status for Sunday's game is unknown but he is considered day-to-day, meaning Trey Lance could deputise for him.

"We knew his thumb was hurting him," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. "We thought he jammed it sometime in the game, so he tells us right when he comes to the bench."

He added: "I think this last month of Trey has been his best consecutive four weeks at practice since we've had him.

"He's had a number of good days and he's had some bad days like most guys do, but as far as his consistency and stuff, I feel this last month has been his best."

Shanahan indicated Garoppolo suffered the injury in the second quarter against the Titans when sacked by Denico Autry, with the QB playing on but struggling with two costly interceptions.

The 49ers will re-assess Garoppolo's availability for Sunday's game on Wednesday.

Garoppolo has a completion rate of 68 percent this season for 3,494 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions across 14 games.

Randy Bullock's last-gasp 44-yard field goal has completed the Tennessee Titans' brilliant come-from-behind 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.

The Titans trailed 10-0 at half-time but fought back with two second-half touchdowns from D'Onta Freeman and A.J. Brown, on his return from a chest injury, to take the lead.

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 26 of 35 passes for 322 yards, threw his only TD pass for Brandon Aiyuk to square the game in the fourth quarter before Bullock's late field goal with four seconds left after the Titans expertly managed the clock.

The result means the Titans can clinch the AFC South division if the Arizona Cardinals beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

The 49ers were left to rue costly Garoppolo errors, having thrown two interceptions as well as over-throwing a golden opportunity for a TD.

Ryan Tannehill managed the clock brilliantly after Aiyuk squared the game up with 2:20 left, with the Titans quarterback going on a 23-yard run in the decisive drive.

Tannehill threw 22 of 29 passes for 209 yards while Brown finished with 11 receptions for 145 yards.

The result leaves the 49ers with an 8-7 record to sit third in the NFC West.

The San Francisco 49ers were hoping to write a new chapter in their rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks.

It ended up being the same old story.

Riding a three-game winning streak that had propelled them into the thick of the NFC playoff race, the Niners were expected to prevail against a 3-8 Seahawks team at their lowest ebb.

Instead, a mistake-strewn display allowed Seattle to launch what could prove the last stand of the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks keeping the Niners out of the endzone at the end of a last-ditch 95-yard drive to preserve a 30-23 win, their 14th in 16 games against the 49ers since the beginning of the 2014 season.

San Francisco could not have done more to help Seattle as the Niners missed a chance to move to 7-5 and cement their grip on a playoff berth.

It was another frustrating day in an up-and-down campaign for a team that two seasons ago was the unquestioned elite of the NFC and, while the defeat was the product of a multitude of failures, the 49ers' rollercoaster 2021 is emblematic of a quarterback akin to a thrill ride many are eager to escape from.

Talent across the board

Examine the 49ers' roster and you will find top-level talent in almost every area.

George Kittle's monstrous performance in Seattle was yet another illustration of the playmaking capability at their disposal.

Racking up 189 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches, Kittle produced a big play on five of his 12 targets against the Seahawks, thriving as the focal point of the Niners' offense with Deebo Samuel out with a groin injury.

It is Samuel who was the catalyst of that three-game winning run, the 2019 second-round pick compiling an Offensive Player of the Year resume with his exploits as both a wide receiver and a running back.

With two rushing touchdowns in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings, Samuel became the first wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to score on the ground in three straight games. He is tied for the league lead with 14.9 scrimmage yards per touch and has 10 total touchdowns to his name.

The first Niners wideout to surpass 1,000 receiving yards since 2014, Samuel leads all players at his position with 9.5 yards after catch per reception. Kittle is sixth among tight ends with 222 yards after catch, a tally padded by his incredible 48-yard catch and run for his second touchdown on Sunday.

Between that duo and the resurgent Brandon Aiyuk, whose big-play rate of 39.7 per cent is ninth among wideouts with at least 25 targets, the 49ers possess three significant passing-game threats whose versatility is a constant problem for defenses.

In addition to Samuel's exploits as a runner, the Niners' rushing attack also features arguably the top rookie running back in the league in Elijah Mitchell, whose 84.3 yards per game on the ground are the most among first-year tailbacks.

That ground game is aided significantly by the play of the man most consider the league's elite left tackle in 2021. Trent Williams headed into Week 13 with a run-block win rate of 84.91 per cent and a pass-block win rate of 89.32 per cent that are both a long way above the respective league averages of 73.16 per cent and 78.60 per cent for the tackle position.

On the other side of the trenches, defensive end Nick Bosa is third in the league in sacks with 12 and tied for the NFL lead with 16 tackles for loss, serving as the undoubted star of a defense that held Seattle to 4.8 yards per play and forced three turnovers despite the absence of All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner.

Even without Samuel, the 49ers objectively had enough talent at their disposal to prevail and improve to 7-5, especially with a strong effort from the defense. Their failure to stretch the winning run to four games was not down to the injury to Samuel, but an infuriating lack of execution that has been a recurring problem in 2021.

Turnovers, penalties a continuing plague

While sections of the box score reflect the dominance the Niners enjoyed for long periods against Seattle, it is easy to identify the areas where it went wrong.

They committed three turnovers, were called for 10 penalties and went three for 10 on third down, losing the time of possession battle against a team that ranks last in that category.

It was a frustratingly familiar tale for the Niners, who lost to Seattle in Week 4 in strikingly similar fashion and have frequently been plagued by turnovers and penalties this season.

The Niners are 23rd in the NFL with a turnover differential of minus 4, while they have given up the fourth-most penalty yardage per game in the NFL (65.25).

Miscues on defense and on their special teams, which gave up a fake punt touchdown and lost a fumble as Travis Benjamin dropped the opening kickoff of the second half, contributed to the Niners continually gifting free plays and extra possessions to the Seahawks.

Yet, beyond the obvious poor discipline in other areas, the 49ers' latest Seattle horror show was an encapsulation of the pitfalls of trusting your offense to a quarterback as volatile as Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo's limitations again laid bare

The Niners' winning streak had quieted most of the questions surrounding when Kyle Shanahan would bench Garoppolo for rookie third overall pick Trey Lance, San Francisco's starter having largely played well across each of those victories.

And Garoppolo was, for the most part, accurate against the Seahawks. He delivered a well-thrown ball on 90 per cent of his pass attempts, trailing only Derek Carr and Gardner Minshew for Week 13.

However, two of the Niners' three turnovers came as a result of brutal interceptions from Garoppolo. San Francisco's defense prevented the first, on which Garoppolo failed to spot the underneath coverage of Bobby Wagner and threw the ball right to the Seattle linebacker, from resulting in points.

They could not do the same following the second, however, Garoppolo inexplicably trying to force a ball to Kittle despite double coverage when he had Trent Sherfield open on a corner route, with that pick followed by the ultimately decisive touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett.

Intercepted eight times in 2021, Garoppolo has thrown a pickable pass on 14 of his 300 attempts, that ratio of 4.67 per cent inferior to the league average of 3.78 per cent.

With a passer rating of 83.2 on passes of 21 air yards or more that is 23rd among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts of that distance, the book on Garoppolo remains the same. At his best, he can execute Kyle Shanahan's offense to a high level, but he consistently limits its potential by struggling to push the ball downfield, committing mind-boggling interceptions and failing to create outside the pocket.

Exacerbating the frustration around Garoppolo's consistent inconsistency is that Lance, an athletic dual-threat quarterback and a more gifted downfield thrower, would theoretically remove those two limiting factors with which his more experienced team-mate continues to shackle the offense.

The 49ers are not short of their problems elsewhere on the roster. The right side of the offensive line is a major issue and the lack of depth at cornerback has been frequently exposed.

Yet those concerns are exacerbated when a team has a quarterback who cannot create for himself when the pocket breaks down and who regularly puts the defense under pressure with ill-advised throws that are all too often a part of his repertoire.

Though the penalties and mistakes from his team-mates have been too common to simply label Sunday's performance in Seattle as an aberration, the more common thread in losses for the 49ers this season has concerned Garoppolo and the limitations to his game that have long since been apparent.

With the stars they have on both sides of the ball, the 49ers should be much more than a 6-6 team scrapping for a Wild Card and coming up short against the worst Seahawks team of the Carroll-Wilson era. The likelihood is San Francisco will make the playoffs but, for them to have hope of and making any noise in the postseason, it would require a switch to a quarterback with the potential to be much more than Garoppolo.

Kyle Shanahan was filled with pride as the San Francisco 49ers finally ended their long home-win drought with a 31-10 upset of the Los Angeles Rams, but he warned that cannot be a flash in the pan.

All eyes were on debutants Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller after the high-flying Rams (7-3) acquired the star duo to boost their Super Bowl bid.

But the 49ers (4-5) spoiled the party – Jimmy Garoppolo throwing two touchdown passes as San Francisco celebrated just their second home win in the past two seasons, keeping their playoff hopes alive on Monday.

The 49ers, who have now won five straight games against the Rams – the longest active streak by either side, matching their 2008-10 run – had last emerged victorious on home soil in October 2020, also over the Rams.

Part of that was down to the 49ers having to play part of the 2020 season in Arizona due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara, but there was still a sense of relief as they eventually enjoyed success in their own backyard.

Shanahan was grateful to put such a run behind them.

"It's been frustrating," he said. "We haven't won at home yet this year. The last time we did win at home was versus the Rams.

"We had one game after that versus the Packers, and we spent are our home [games] in Arizona, but just going to this year was very frustrating.

"Especially, the crowds that we've had, the way our fans have been. They were awesome today. Just like they were awesome last week, but I'm glad we gave them something to be proud of today.

"I just told [the team] how proud of them I was. I said we've got a short week. I think we've got a real good team [the Jacksonville Jaguars] ahead of us – that's how we expect to play here.

"It's been long overdue and we've got to make sure that we take a day off. Those guys rest, come back healthy on a short week, make sure we keep it going forward."

There were entirely different thoughts going through the head of Rams coach Sean McVay, however, with the Super Bowl hopefuls suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

"I choose to believe that these last couple weeks are not who we are," he said. "I refuse to believe that, even though, you know what, you're only as good as your last game.

"These last two weeks have certainly been humbling."

Beckham was rather less dramatic, though, despite his debut being overshadowed by a chastening defeat.

The wide receiver, who joined the Rams as a free agent this week following his release by the Cleveland Browns, simply felt the 49ers were better all over the field.

"I was excited, I felt like I was ready for the moment," Beckham added. "I've been through so much and God has put me in this position for that exact moment.

"It just wasn't our night. There's really no way around it, it just wasn't our night. Any given Sunday any team can win.

"The Niners came out and they played better than us in all phases of the game, and that's really the moral of the story. There's no trying to find what happened, they just outplayed us."

The San Francisco 49ers won their first home game in more than a year after Jimmy Garoppolo helped fuel a 31-10 upset of the Super Bowl-chasing Los Angeles Rams.

All eyes were on debutants Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller after the high-flying Rams (7-3) acquired the star duo to boost their Super Bowl bid.

But the 49ers (4-5) spoiled the party – Garoppolo throwing two touchdown passes as San Francisco celebrated just their second home in the past two seasons, keeping their playoff hopes alive on Monday.

The 49ers, who have now won five straight games against the Rams – the longest active streak by either side, matching their 2008-10 run – had last emerged victorious on home soil in October 2020, also over the Rams.

Matthew Stafford (26-of-41 passing for 243 yards, a TD, two interceptions and two sacks) struggled as the Rams dropped back-to-back games, with the Los Angeles quarterback intercepted by Jimmie Ward on the opening two drives of the contest.

Ward's second interception led to a 27-yard touchdown return as he became the seventh player since 2000 with two interceptions – including a pick-six, in the opening quarter after Garoppolo (15-of-19 passing for 182 yards, two TDs and no interceptions) had led an 18-play, 93-yard TD drive less than a minute earlier.

Stafford has now thrown a pick-six in back-to-back games for the first time since his rookie season in 2009.

Leading 14-0 following the first quarter, the 49ers maintained that buffer as the teams traded touchdowns prior to half-time – Stafford throwing a 10-yard pass to Tyler Higbee before Deebo Samuel ran for an eight-yard score.

After Robbie Gould's 50-yard field goal stretched the lead in the third period, Samuel and Garoppolo combined for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the 49ers out of reach early in the fourth.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan declared Jimmy Garoppolo will start against the Chicago Bears in Week 8 as he backed his under-fire quarterback.

Garoppolo struggled in Sunday's 30-18 NFL loss to the Indianapolis Colts, completing 16 of 27 passes for 181 yards, including one touchdown, two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Shanahan said it was Garoppolo's "worst game" upon his return from a calf issue which kept him out in Week 5 before San Francisco's bye, but he threw his support behind the 29-year-old.

San Francisco's Shanahan has a dilemma after the team's fourth consecutive loss left the 49ers 2-4 for the season, given Garoppolo's performance and with rookie quarterback Trey Lance hoping to recover from a knee sprain to push his case for selection.

"In terms of deciding who is going at quarterback, that has to do with Jimmy's health," Shanahan told reporters on Monday.

"Jimmy, I wanted to see how his calf was. It's good today and so he'll be starting and hopefully Trey will get back into practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress and if he ends up dressing then there's always a good chance he'll get some plays in there."

Garoppolo has completed 94 of 145 attempts for 1,106 yards this season, with six touchdowns, four interceptions and eight sackings.

His current completion percentage of 64.8 is his worst since the 2018 season (59.6).

"I thought Jimmy had his worst game yesterday [Sunday]. I thought Jimmy's done some good things in the three and a half games that he's played," Shanahan said.

"He did some pretty good things in our first game, getting us up to a 41-17 lead. I think he came back and made some unbelievable plays to give us the lead with 30 seconds left against Green Bay on Monday Night Football... And then he got hurt early in the game versus Seattle.

"He just got his first game back last night in that monsoon and it didn't go very good for any of us."

He added: "We didn't go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that."

Shanahan said Lance, who hurt his knee in his only start in Garoppolo's absence in the Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, "is on pace" to make a limited return to practice this week.

"We know Trey is the future here, and we're trying to do what's best for him and for our team," Shanahan said.

"Trey is coming off a pretty big injury, and we're going to keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as he can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays we ask him to, always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt, and being ready to be the future for us, too."

Even after watching Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance fight for the starting quarterback job throughout training camp and the preseason, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan appears at a loss over what to do about the position. 

Shanahan side-stepped questions about the team's quarterback situation after the 49ers fell 30-18 to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday for their fourth consecutive NFL defeat. 

Garoppolo struggled in a game played in a miserable downpour, completing 16 of 27 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown with two fourth-quarter interceptions. 

The veteran started San Francisco's first four games before sitting out a Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a calf injury. 

Lance got his first NFL start in that game and suffered a sprained knee that kept him off the field through San Francisco's bye week and against the Colts. 

Asked if he plans to start Garoppolo again in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears, Shanahan said "I would guess so." 

He added: "I'm going to watch this tape and see if guys are healthy, first of all, and know where our guys are at. It was good for Jimmy to be able to get healthy enough to play in this game today."

The team originally had hoped Lance would be able to return after missing two weeks, but his timeline remains unclear after he missed practice all last week. 

If the rookie is healthy enough to face Chicago, Shanahan could be forced into a difficult decision after remaining steadfast in his support of Garoppolo throughout the offseason.

"I've got a lot of things to figure out," Shanahan said as he concluded his remarks. 

Kyle Shanahan felt Trey Lance did enough to lead the San Francisco 49ers to victory in Week 5 but indicated Jimmy Garoppolo will again be the starting quarterback when healthy.

Lance, the third overall pick in this year's draft, made his first NFL start on Sunday in the Niners' 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, with Garoppolo on the shelf due to a calf contusion.

The rookie was unable to mark his first full game with a victory, completing 15 of his 29 passes for 192 yards and one interception, which came on his first drive.

But the dual-threat upside that helped convince the Niners to trade three first-round picks to move up in the draft for Lance was on show as he ran for 89 yards on 16 carries.

Lance would have found the endzone on a key fourth down on Arizona's one-yard line in the second quarter if not for a great stop by Isaiah Simmons.

The Niners went one for five on fourth down with those struggles and poor offensive execution from Lance's surrounding cast dooming a San Francisco team that outgained the unbeaten Cardinals 338 yards to 304.

Garoppolo appears on track to return after the Niners' Week 6 bye, San Francisco set to face the Indianapolis Colts at home in Week 7, with Shanahan suggesting he will get the nod under center if he is healthy.

"No, nothing's changed," head coach Shanahan said of the situation at quarterback. "It's just one game. It's one game. It's a tough loss right there, and I'll talk to our whole team tomorrow and think of how we can get our whole team better coming back off the bye."

On Lance, he added: "I thought he did some really good things. It definitely wasn't perfect, which no one ever has been.

"The first pick I thought just sailed on him. He was going to the right spot but it just got away from him on the first drive.

"I thought overall, I think we could've done better around him. I thought he did good enough to win."

"The defense kept us in it, for sure," Lance said. "I mean, the [Cardinals'] offense is very explosive. They make a lot of big plays, and our defense definitely gave us a shot. So, we've got to capitalise, got to do better, make more plays.

"I'm obviously disappointed. I really wanted to win that game. But we'll keep our heads up, learn from it, learn as much as I can, get as better as I can from it.

"I'm super proud of these guys. Defensively, offensively, we competed. How hard these guys played, they battled through a lot, some tough penalties, things like that, but we're going to learn a lot from it, and we're going to be better for it."

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains a chance to play in Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals despite a calf injury according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Garoppolo suffered a bruised calf in the 49ers' 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and was unable to play the second half.

Shanahan will wait on further tests on Garoppolo's calf but was comforted on Monday knowing that the injury would not sideline his preferred quarterback long term.

"It does mean he has a chance," Shanahan said. "It wasn't as bad as what we thought it might have been. He's in a lot of pain, still sore.

"Hopefully by the time he comes in Wednesday, if it's getting better, then he'll have a good chance. If it hasn't improved at all by Wednesday, it will probably be a little bit longer."

If Garoppolo is unable to play, Shanahan will know he can turn to 2021 NFL Draft pick three Trey Lance, who made two touchdowns in Sunday's loss.

Lance played the second half against Seattle in Garoppolo's absence, completing nine from 18 attempts for 157 yards, running seven times for 41 yards.

Shanahan will also be sweating on the fitness of left tackle Trent Williams who has a right shoulder concern.

"I think Trent, we got a little bit better news than Jimmy, but Jimmy, we've got to see how he reacts here in the next two days," Shanahan said.

"But both of them were definitely better news today than the feeling we had last night."

The 49ers have a Week 6 bye, before their next game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday October 24 which may come into Shanahan's consideration.

Jimmy Garoppolo's frustration was evident as he was again struck by the injury bug, opening the door for rookie Trey Lance to take over as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback.

Garoppolo did not feature in the second half of San Francisco's 28-21 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, which dropped them to 2-2, because of a calf issue.

It meant third overall pick Lance, for whom the Niners traded three first-round draft choices to select, was rushed into action at short notice after Garoppolo was ruled out towards the end of half-time.

Lance could not lead a Niners team that wasted their first-half dominance to a win, with special teams miscues and penalties dooming them to a second straight home loss, but he did produce reasons for encouragement in his first extended competitive action since 2019.

He finished nine of 18 for 157 yards and two touchdowns passing while adding 41 yards on the ground, showing the dual-threat upside Garoppolo lacks.

Garoppolo is also bereft of luck on the injury front. He has completed just one full season as a starter in his NFL career, when he helped San Francisco to the Super Bowl in the 2019 campaign, and now looks set for at least a few weeks on the sideline.

"It happened in the first series," he told a media conference of his injury. "I don't know exactly what happened. Tweaked the calf. It hurt initially.

"I thought I'd keep trying, keep trying to go and it just kept getting worse and worse, traveling down to the Achilles a little bit, but we'll get more information tomorrow with MRI and everything. Hoping for the best right now.

"Just in between series, I could feel it tightening up in everything. I thought I could get it out. I tried to for the first half, but it's just tough, man. I don't know. I've been in the situation too many times and it's getting real old. So it's just one of those things, but a part of the business though."

For his part, Lance had no issue going in at short notice.

"I've been ready for and I stay prepared for whenever my name is called," he said. "I try to be as ready as possible, prepare that way during the week to be as ready as I possibly can.

"So I felt, obviously, confidence in myself and my team-mates and how well our defense had been playing and how well our offensive had been moving the ball. I felt really good about the situation that we were going into.

"I think there were plays, good and bad throughout the half. Missed some big ones, missed some easy ones, missed some check downs. Just definitely a few plays that I want back. But like I said, going to go back and watch it tonight and I think I'll learn a lot from that."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan described Lance's performance as a "typical first game" but felt he improved as the game wore on.

"He went in there unexpected and he competed. Trey's a football player. You guys can see that at times throughout that game. Regardless of what's happening, he's always got a chance to make a play and that's why I think he did," said Shanahan.

"It was good for him to take us down on that scoring drive there at the end. But it takes some time to play in this league as you guys have seen throughout.

"It's about knowing where to get rid of the ball, when to try to make those plays, when to check it down, have other guys do it for you, when to hang in the pocket, when to escape the pocket, and he got a lot of real NFL game experience with that today. Hopefully he'll get better from it." 

With Garoppolo likely out, Lance's first full game experience should come against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, and he may have to cope without left tackle Trent Williams, who suffered a shoulder injury.

"Yeah, I'm definitely excited," added Lance. "I'm excited to learn, like I said, learn as much as I can from this one. And then turn the page after these 24 hours and get started on Arizona."

Russell Wilson produced a vintage performance to lead the Seattle Seahawks past the San Francisco 49ers 28-21.

Wilson celebrated his 100th NFL victory as the Seahawks (2-2) rallied past the 49ers (2-2) in San Francisco on Sunday.

The Super Bowl champion finished 16-of-23 passing for two touchdowns, while he rushed for another TD on four carries.

Wilson joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the second quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games in their first 10 seasons.

The 49ers – with Jimmy Garoppolo starting under center – took an early 7-0 lead but that was as good as it got for San Francisco on home soil.

Wilson's 12-yard pass to DK Metcalf ensured the scores were tied at half-time before the former dominated in the third period – the eight-time Pro Bowler's 16-yard run putting the Seahawks 14-7 ahead and Freddie Swain then caught a throw to stretch the lead to 14 points.

Trey Lance – who completed nine of his 18 passes for 157 yards and two TDs – replaced Garoppolo (calf) in the second half and the rookie QB kept the 49ers in the contest with a monster 76-yard TD pass to Deebo Samuel during the closing stages of the third quarter.

After an Alex Collins touchdown gave the Seahawks a 28-13 lead early in the final period, Lance combined with Samuel again at the death, but it was too little, too late.

 

Cardinals stay unbeaten behind Murray

Kyler Murray inspired the high-flying Arizona Cardinals to a 37-20 win at the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 39 more yards as the red-hot Cardinals improved to 4-0 this season.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb guided the Green Bay Packers to a third consecutive win – a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rodgers and Cobb connected for two touchdowns and ran for another score at home to the Steelers.

Packers superstar Rodgers threw his 420th career TD pass – tying Dan Marino for sixth all-time.

Under-fire Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw his 400th career touchdown pass – the eighth player to do so.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan insisted there is no "quarterback battle" between starter Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance as calls for the latter to be given more gametime grow.

The 49ers are 2-1 to start the NFL season, going down 30-28 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday after wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions.

Lance, who was selected at pick three in the 2021 NFL Draft, has been used sparingly, attending seven snaps in two games, including running a one-yard touchdown against the Packers.

The 49ers' offensive display against the Packers, having been held scoreless until Lance's touchdown on half-time, fuelled the calls for the 21-year-old to get more opportunities ahead of Garoppolo – who made 25 of 40 passes for 257 yards, two TDs and an interception against Green Bay.

"There's not a quarterback battle right now," Shanahan said on Wednesday heading into the Week 4 clash with the Seattle Seahawks. "We're going with our starting quarterback who I think is playing very well.

"I'm happy that he is, so Trey is not thrown into any situations he has to do too early. If he ever is thrown into that, then I know Trey will deal with that and he'll get better as it goes, but we have a luxury where we don't have to do that yet to Trey or to our team."

Garoppolo has a completion rate of 67.37 per cent this season, collecting 760 yards with four touchdowns in three games this season.

The 29-year-old has completed 64 of 95 attempts, run for a score, thrown an interception and lost a pair of fumbles.

"Trey's our backup quarterback," Shanahan said. "This isn't the preseason. We're not just going back and forth all the time."

He added: "We have put him [Lance] on the field. We do it in situations.

"You can go with whatever you want what I say in training camp and you can expand on that or not. But I think I was asked coming off the field of our third [preseason] game if we'd see this in the regular season, I said, 'probably not.'

"I've been pretty consistent with what I've said."

The 49ers' last seven games dating back to last year have all been decided by eight points or fewer, tied for the longest streak in franchise history (also in 1988).

San Francisco have had 11 different players score a touchdown this season – tied with the 1964 Oilers, 1987 Chicago Bears and 2002 New England Patriots for the most in NFL history over the first three games of a season.

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