As Trey Lance was being carted off the field during Sunday's win over the Seattle Seahawks, all San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan could do was apologize.
“I’m sorry. You were playing your ass off," Shanahan said, per Peter King of NBC Sports.
Lance suffered a broken ankle on a designed run late in the first quarter of the 49ers' 27-7 victory over the division rival Seahawks and will miss the remainder of the 2022 season.
It was a heartbreaking end to a season that never really got underway for Lance, the 49ers' 2021 first-round pick. The second-year quarterback struggled in a season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears, but that could largely be attributed to inclement weather and sloppy field conditions at Soldier Field.
The 49ers' offense was crisp from the outset Sunday, kicking a field goal on their opening possession and driving deep into Seahawks territory when Lance went down. San Francisco kicked a second field goal after Jimmy Garoppolo replaced Lance on that drive.
Garoppolo finished with 154 yards passing and a touchdown and will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
“Four of our six years here we’ve lost the starting quarterback to injury,” Shanahan said. “I mean, you just deal with it. You’ve got to. Our team really loves Trey. But these guys, they plan on winning games regardless of the obstacles.
“We’ll be somber Monday morning, but this league doesn’t wait for anybody. It’s unbelievable, really, what’s happened here. We’ve only played two years without a major quarterback injury. But really, this is the first time we’ve had a really good Plan B. It’s a long time since this franchise had a quarterback situation like this one, with two guys we know can win—probably back to Joe Montana and Steve Young. I’m not comparing these guys to Joe and Steve, but I’m talking about going into games now knowing we’ve still got a great chance.”
Garoppolo spent most of the offseason expecting to be playing football elsewhere after the 49ers handed the keys to the offense over to Lance. Instead, he'll be tasked with saving the season amid the young quarterback's uncertain future.