No. 1: 49ers must rely on Trey Lance’s athleticism
It’s still not quite clear if the 49ers are going to have their veteran quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, fully healthy and ready from the calf injury he suffered in Week 3.
Even if Garoppolo could go, rookie quarterback Trey Lance should get the start under center. Perhaps for the rest of the season, too.
Lance, who rushed for 1,100 yards in 2019 at North Dakota State, could potentially deliver that mismatch nightmare Kyler Murray helped spark within the division back in the same year. And while Murray had his share of passing mistakes and shortcomings his rookie season, much like Lance will have in 2021, there’s no doubting how much of a headache Lance’s rushing prowess could create within Arizona’s defense.
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Especially in light of the run fits the Cardinals are currently having anyway.
Lance’s athleticism is an X-factor the Niners have to exploit in this contest, proverbially “fighting fire with fire,” in terms of going toe-to-toe with Murray. And while Lance will also have to be responsible for timely passes and taking advantage of whatever opportunities are presented to him through the air, his ground game could end up being the true difference-maker.
San Francisco and Arizona kick off on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 4:25 p.m. ET from State Farm Stadium.