“It’s always tough, especially when it’s a big one like that,” Shanahan said. “You feel for someone so bad. It’s sad but you don’t have time to sit there and think about it. You’ve got to get right back to the game, and the guys did a real good job of that. I’m really happy about the win, but it’s a little somber once you get in the locker room.”
“This should not be interpreted as any sort of “I told you so,” just an assessment that there were signs for major concern in the way Lance was being used as a runner. It seemed likely, whether on Sunday, or some other time this season, that running him consistently between the tackles would result in consequences...The 49ers protected themselves by retaining Jimmy Garoppolo. Their floor is higher, but their ceiling is lower with him than Lance, and the future at that position is now muddy.”
“He’s a guy who never really wants to be the main story but somehow always is. He’s inevitable. In a world of chaos, he’s the 49ers’ accidental QB constant. And they’ve never been happier for that than right now.”
“When Lance is ready to play again, he will have played 27 games since graduating from Marshall High in 2018. That’s an average of 5.4 games in five seasons. If he wasn’t ready for Shanahan to open up the playbook this year, he won’t be next year now, either. Will he have even less patience waiting for him? Less opportunity? By the time he takes the field again, the 49ers will be done owing draft picks for him and the bounty spent to get Lance will be a sunk cost. They’ll just have him under contract for two years, with one, in essence, being the rookie season of which he keeps getting deprived.”
“Here’s a roundup of what Shanahan and a number of other players said when asked about Lance’s injury.”
“Now his second season is cut short after a little more than one game. That means that from the end of North Dakota State’s 2019 season to the start of the 2023 season he’ll have started five games total.”
“It was an absolutely brutal and instant reminder of why the team kept Jimmy Garoppolo. As Lance winced in pain, Garoppolo returned, and suddenly it was back to the norm of last season.”
“Thirdly — and this is the part no one wants to say publicly, but something several players and coaches enunciated privately in the wake of Sunday’s game — the 49ers are a better team right now with Garoppolo at quarterback than they were with Lance.
As two of these realists told me after the game, “I can’t say it, but you can.”
“So while the offense and special teams might come and go, the 49ers are counting on DeMeco Ryans’ defense to consistently keep things together.”
“Our game is married out to be one,” Jackson explained in the locker room. “So my single rush plus Arik’s single rush equals a game, if that makes sense. That’s how we ran it. We just executed a lovely game.”
“I didn’t even think about that, but that’s definitely a big, big improvement for us,” Bosa said. “Just being smarter with certain things, and when you’re suffocating an offense like we have the past two weeks, that can be game-changing.
“Any time a guy gets hurt I wish I didn’t call that,” Shanahan said. “But no, that’s something we were gonna do, and something we were going to continue to do. That’s a football play we believe in and something we believe gives him a chance to be real successful in this league.”
“It just shows how much they respect me. When they offered me a deal like that, you can’t turn that down. Especially with a great organization like the Niners. There’s not anywhere that I’d rather be. “