The San Francisco 49ers had a wrench tossed into their playoff plans last week. Even without their starting left tackle and left guard, the Tennessee Titans were able to play Titan-brand football and win on a Randy Bullock field goal. At the end of the second quarter of that game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a thumb injury after he was sacked by Denico Autry. At the time, the 49ers thought it was a jammed thumb. The recent diagnosis is worse than that.
49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a right thumb UCL tear along with a fracture, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 27, 2021
Garoppolo missed practice on Monday. It turns out he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament and a fracture in the right thumb. As we saw with Laremy Tunsil, who suffered a UCL tear of his own several weeks ago, this injury may knock a player out for a month. Garoppolo maybe tougher than Tunsil and decide to try and play through it, choosing to evaluate his options after the season.
If Garoppolo is out against Houston, it means it’s Trey Lance time. Lance was abhorrent in his other starts earlier this season. Despite his athletic profile, Lance struggled to miss tackles or provide any value in the run game. Yes, believe it or not, this makes the 49ers worse.
This quarterback chance in San Francisco could open the door for another Houston Texans upset. That’s how bad the 49ers were with Lance at the helm. The biggest issue the Texans face is that they are going up against a great running team that has mastered the outside zone and the horizontal run game, two things the Texans struggled with earlier this year when they played the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, and the Los Angeles Chargers last week.
As we have learned so many times before, never say never. Anything can happen on any given Sunday. This week may be no different as the Texans face either a hurt quarterback or a backup quarterback in Week 17.