5 biggest takeaways from 49ers win with Trey Lance vs. Texans

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Takeaway No. 4: 49ers see why Trey Lance can do things Jimmy Garoppolo can’t

No, this isn’t just about how Trey Lance can use his legs to either extend plays and get outside the pocket, or even how he can use his athletic prowess to rush for yards on the ground.

While those are both true, and Lance did showcase some pocket-awareness improvement in Week 17, the bigger factor will be how well the rookie emerges as a true passer.

There are elements working in his favor over Jimmy Garoppolo in that regard, too.

Let’s take a look at Garoppolo’s Week 16 passing chart versus the Tennessee Titans from Next Gen Stats:

There are two notable establishments for Garoppolo, aside from the occasionally frequent bone-headed interceptions he’ll toss from time to time. Forgetting those for a moment, Garoppolo will live between the numbers and avoid the sidelines, almost always sticking to passes no more than 10 to 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

In contrast, and while it wasn’t always perfect, Lance’s Next Gen Stats passing chart from Week 17 showed how much more he’s willing to target players outside the numbers, also not being afraid of using his arm strength to go vertical:

Yes, Lance’s outing looked clunky at times, particularly over the first two quarters. But if he’s able to hone in his skill set, and head coach Kyle Shanahan is able to mesh his play-calling scheme to Lance’s abilities, it’s not hard to see why the rookie can unlock so much more of the 49ers offense in the upcoming seasons.