Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan breaks down the 49ers’ play that saw Trey Lance stopped at the goal line vs. Cardinals

Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 12, 2021 at 12:15 PM--


Rookie quarterback Trey Lance made his NFL debut Sunday and the day came with its ups-and-downs, as the 49ers failed to execute on offense, leading to a 17-10 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.

Lance was featured heavily, as he threw 29 passes and ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards, which was questionable, given the amount of contact he faced in the game.

One of those controversial plays came on 4th & Goal at the ARI 1 in the second quarter, with the 49ers looking to score a touchdown down 7-0.

Running play-action, Lance faked the handoff to Elijah Mitchell and rolled to his right, electing to try and run for the score rather than passing the ball once his first read, the halfback, wasn't available. He was met by two Arizona linebackers, Isaiah Simmons and Tanner Vallejo, on a crushing hit, going down before the goal line, resulting in a lack of points on the drive and a turnover.

Kyle Shanahan was asked about that specific play and whether Lance's run was what he wished for, or if Shanahan would have liked to see Lance do something a little bit different rather than what happened.

"I think it's a little Monday morning quarterbacking," Shanahan responded. "You run the play, and the first thing you try to do is hit the half back in the flat right away and they've got a guy outside there. And the design is to try to hit [fullback Kyle Juszczyk], who slides in from the backside, which the penetration clipped him a little bit. So he was a little bit behind, but that was an option for Trey to do.

Shanahan thought that the play could've resulted in a pass to Kyle Juszczyk, who was fairly open, but Lance's running ability changed the direction of the play.

"If you don't have the legs, that's where I would expect him to go back to Juice. But Trey does have the legs so he kept running. He had a chance to get in there. I think he saw [Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons] in front of him and turned it up in there. And he didn't see [Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo] coming from inside, who I think surprised him.

The coach also credited the Arizona defense for collapsing on the rookie ahead of the goal line, essentially killing the play and San Francisco's momentum in the game.

"The guys made a hell of a play on the goal line and I'm not sure whether he got in or not. You can never tell, but those two guys made a great play."

Looking at the play, Shanahan's comments about not having the legs raises questions as to whether this specific play may have been designed for Jimmy Garoppolo's style of play, as the veteran would've likely attempted to pass the ball and hit Juszczyk, who was fairly open in front of the end zone.

The play proved to be costly for the 49ers as they never could fully execute on offense, despite getting into Arizona territory on multiple occasions.

After the game, Lance was diagnosed with a minor knee sprain, which is a tough blow to the overall week, as the rookie will now have to nurse the injury during the team's bye.
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