Trey Lance's 49ers debut was off-script move by Kyle Shanahan

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Lance's 49ers debut was off-script decision by Shanahan originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

DETROIT — 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance did not know when he would step on the field for his NFL debut.

And 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was not anticipating he would make the call to insert Lance so early in the team’s Week 1 game at the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Lance entered during the 49ers' first sustained drive. He kept the ball for a 1-yard run. Three plays later, he re-entered and hit wide receiver Trent Sherfield on a 5-yard touchdown pass.

“I had no idea when or if I was going to play,” Lance said following the 49ers’ 41-33 victory over the Lions.

“Obviously, I was hoping that I’d get to get on the field and help. But at the same time, my role is just to be ready whenever my name is called.”

Shanahan said he did not expect to use Lance at the outset. But the opportunity presented itself early, and Shanahan went off-script.

The 49ers’ first possession ended after one play when starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo mishandled center Alex Mack’s snap for a giveaway.

Lance checked into the game on the 49ers’ fifth offensive play of the game.

“We’ll always have some stuff in for Trey,” Shanahan said. “When your No. 2 quarterback has the skillset that the No 1 doesn’t do, in terms of being a threat to run, so when you have that, there’s always the option of different plays you can run.

"So we’ll have that up at all times while Trey’s here. And while he’s the No. 2, that will always be an option.”

Lance kept the ball on three running plays but gained just 2 yards. His only pass attempt was the touchdown to Sherfield off a play-action fake. It was the first Week 1 touchdown pass by a rookie in 49ers history.

“Any time you do play-action, that’s the goal is to make the defense think we’re going to run the ball,” Lance said. “Trent ran a great route and made a great catch.”

RELATED: Shanahan fears Verrett tore ACL in Week 1 win

Lance saw limited practice time last week as he recovered from an injured right index finger. He sustained a small chipped bone in his finger on Aug. 29 in the 49ers’ final exhibition game of the summer.

“It really didn’t swell up too bad,” Lance said. “It was just range of motion and getting that back. Obviously some inflammation in my finger, but it’s all good now, thankfully.”

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