Lance shines in his start in 49ers 23-7 win

by Marko Ukalovic

SANTA CLARA, Calif. —With all eyes on him and his team’s playoff hopes hinging on his performance, Trey Lance did what he needed to do.

After a slow first half, the San Francisco 49er’s rookie quarterback threw for two touchdowns in the second half to help deliver a 23-7 victory over the Houston Texans in the final home game of the season for San Francisco on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.

San Francisco (9-7) remained as the sixth seed in the NFC and control their own destiny with a win and they’re in scenario for the final week of the regular season.

Lance, who made his first home start of his career and second start of the season, didn’t get off to the hot start that most people were expecting. The Niners offense was able to generate only three first downs on their first four possessions.

Houston (4-12) intercepted Lance on the first play of San Francisco’s fourth possession as he was trying to find tight end George Kittle on the left side, but the pass was underthrown as Desmond King stepped underneath and returned it to their own 20-yard line.

The Texans responded with its best drive of the game. They went 80 yards on 14 plays that was capped off with an eight-yard touchdown reception by Brandin Cooks when rookie quarterback David Mills found him open down the middle in the back of the endzone.

Both offenses played so poorly in the first half that the Texans offense was the first to reach the red zone with four minutes remaining in the first half.

Lance settled down near the end of the first half when he drove the 49ers down to the Texans’ 19-yard line after two completions to Brandon Aiyuk and one to Deebo Samuel. Robbie Gould got San Francisco on the board with a 37-yard field goal with 38 second left in the second quarter.

In the second half San Francisco’s defense dominated the trenches and shutout Houston for the final 30 minutes.

Marcell Harris intercepted Mills on the Texans’ first possession of the second half and Houston’s offense would not be able to recover the rest of the game.

San Francisco only needed four plays to cash in Harris’ pick. Lance found Elijah Mitchell out in the flat for an eight-yard touchdown reception to give the 49ers their first lead of the game at 10-7 with 5:53 left in the third quarter. The drive was aided by a 37-yard passing interference penalty on Terrance Mitchell.

“He played well enough for them to win today,” said Houston Texans head coach David Culley when asked about Lance. “He gave us a chance by giving us that one pick. The thing about him is that he’s very mobile and keeps plays alive.”

The closest Houston came to scoring in the second half was when Ka’imi Fairbairn 45-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 12:08 left in the fourth quarter.

The Niners took advantage of the good field position off of Fairbairn’s miss. Once again, they only needed four plays to paydirt. On a play-action pass, Lance found Samuel deep down the field on a corner post route. Samuel shook off the attempted tackle and danced his way down the sideline for his sixth receiving touchdown of the season to give San Francisco a commanding 17-7 lead with 9:56 left to play.

“That big play at the end was huge,” said San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan regarding Lance’s performance. “For the most part, he made some pretty good decisions running the ball.”

San Francisco sent Houston packing when they received the ball with under seven minutes remaining in the game. Two big plays, the first a spectacular one-hand catch by Kittle for 28 yards and then a Mitchell 37-yard rush to the Texan’s six-yard line help set up Gould’s 27-yard field goal to seal the deal.

Mitchell became the all-time rookie rushing leader for the 49ers when he rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries. Mitchell’s 878 rushing yard broke the mark set by Vic Washington (811) in 1971 with 14 appearances, despite missing the past three games due to an injury in just 10 appearances.

Lance finished 16 of 23 for 249 yards and two touchdowns and one interception with a QB rating of 116.0. Aiyuk led the Niners in receiving with four catches for 94 yards.

“Yeah, I think I got into a better rhythm,” Lance said. “Probably settled in after that two-minute drive. I think that is when I started talking to (quarterbacks coach) Rich (Scangarello) and (head coach) Kyle (Shanahan) and kind of let them know that I felt settled.”

Mills, who had a rough game, finished 21 of 32 for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His QB rating was just 75.4.

Cooks led the Texans in receiving with seven catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. Running back Rex Burkhead had a quiet game with 47 yards on 16 carries.

GAME NOTES: San Francisco finished 5-for-13 on third down situations. Houston was 5-for-15.

The Niners outgained the Texans 416-222 in total yardage and had more first downs 19-15.

UP NEXT: San Francisco travel down to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in the regular season finale on Sunday 1/9 at 1:25pm.

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Hawkes: Is Jimmy G coming back or will he be finished with San Francisco?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) tries to get out of the way of getting caught from his right side by the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Thu Dec 23, 2021 (AP News photo)

On the 49ers podcast with J Hawkes:

#1 After the thumb injury sustained in Tennessee during Thursday Night Football on Dec 23 and some of the criticism you hear from the media that he could be through with the San Francisco 49ers (8-7) what is your reaction from that.

#2 Head coach Kyle Shanahan sounded quite the opposite when speaking to the media on Wednesday saying that Garoppolo has a thumb sprain might just be able to get back in the starting line up for Sunday’s game.

#3 Meanwhile back up quarterback Trey Lance back on Oct 10th while playing in Arizona against the Cardinals had suffered a knee injury and what is reported severe damaged vocal cords (from audibles on the practice squad) is close to being named the starting quarterback this Sunday.

#4 Some of the football analysts and journalist have said that it is time for Lance to take over the reigns of starting quarterback and after Garoppolo’s performance against the Titans that pretty much suffices that. If true is Lance ready being a rookie for such a big role.

#5 The 49ers have won five of their last seven games, lost a tough game to the Titans in their last outing and host a Houston Texans (4-11) who have won their last two games. How do you see this match up Sunday at Levi Stadium this Sunday.

Join J Hawkes for the 49ers podcasts on Sundays at

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Will this be Lance’s opportunity to win the first string job?

San Francisco 49ers back up quarterback Trey Lance as seen in this Aug 29, 2021 photo will get the call to start this Sun Jan 2, 2021 against the Houston Texans in Houston for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who is out with a thumb injury. (Bay Area News Group file photo)

On the 49ers podcast with David:

#1 San Francisco 49ers (8-7) quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out with a thumb injury played with the injured thumb last Thursday against the Tennessee Titans (10-5). It was reported that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan knew about Garoppolo’s thumb after Garoppolo let him know after the game. The thumb needs surgery but that would mean long layoff for Garoppolo.

#2 49ers back up Trey Lance will get the call to start against the Houston Texans (4-11) this Sunday in Houston. Lance has played in five games is 52.1% on completions, 354 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Is this that open door for Lance to shine and possibly take the starting job away from Garoppolo?

#3 The Texans have won their last two games in a row defeating the San Diego Chargers rather handily last Sunday 41-29, then the week before they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars Sun Dec 19, 30-16. These last two wins counts towards their fourth win of the season after having such a struggle in the previous weeks. How do you see this match up with Lance as the starter against the Texans this Sunday.

Join David Zizmor for the 49ers podcasts each Tuesday at

Las Vegas Raiders podcast with Superbowl Wayne: Colts, Rivers have won five of last six as Raiders prepare to host this Sunday

The Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt (99) gets a second half sack on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers (17) on Sun Dec 6, 2020 in Houston (AP News photos)

On the Raiders podcast with Superbowl Wayne:

#1 The Las Vegas Raiders (7-5) in their last game in New Jersey at the Meadowlands against the New York Jets (0-12) needless to say shocked the nation when Raiders quarterback Derek Carr  with a Hail Mary comeback touchdown pass with 26 seconds left in the game for a 46 yard pass to wide Henry Ruggs III for the game winning touchdown.

#2 The Raiders had a lead against the Jets in the first half 17-13 but the second half the Raiders didn’t score in the third quarter and the Jets got 15 points in the fourth quarter before Carr’s game saving touchdown pass to get Vegas by the Jets.

#3 Carr threw well enough to win the game 381 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. But it was his pass to Ruggs III to win the game will be the play everybody will remember.

#4 The Raiders host the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) this Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise. This will be the Raiders first home game in three weeks after getting crushed by the Atlanta Falcons(4-8) in the first leg of their road trip before narrowly winning against the Jets last Sunday. The Raiders no doubt are looking for a little home cooking.

#5 Indianapolis Colts have won four of their last six games. The Colts quarterback Phillip Rivers has been doing a bang up job for Indianapolis in his last game he and the Colts beat a well prepared Houston Texans (4-8) team in a close contest 26-20. Rivers threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans.

Superbowl Wayne filled in for Rich Perez on the Raiders podcast at


Headline Sports podcast with Jessica Kwong: Jets showed some defense against Bills but still winless; Did Bucs knock Raiders off their momentum?; plus more

The New York Jets defense was full of surprises last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills holding Buffalo to only 18 points despite losing 18-10 (photo from

On Headline Sports with Jessica:

#1 The New York Jets (0-7) are the laughing stock of the City of New York but yet the Jets head coach Adam Gase says he has a game plan each week. Last Sunday might have been their best game although they lost 18-10 to the Buffalo Bills (5-2) in terms of playing a good defensive game.

#2 The Las Vegas Raiders (3-3) were coming into last Sunday’s game with lots of confidence they were coming off a close seven point loss to the Buffalo on Oct 8th, then the following week Oct 11th they dominated the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) in KC, had a restful bye week on Sun 18 but got raked at home by the Tampa Bay Bucs (5-2) 45-20 behind Bucs quarterback Tom Brady’s four touchdown afternoon.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers (4-3) who lost two tough games against two teams who were struggling the Miami Dolphins (3-3)  and the Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) but came but strong against the Rams (5-2) and Patriots (2-4) for two straight wins. The 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks (5-1) looking at the NFC West that’s a real tough division to win games in as the 49ers head to Seattle this Sunday.

#4 The other day Dallas Cowboys (2-5) owner Jerry Jones was on live radio at 105.5 The Fan and told the host to “shut up a moment and let me answer” after he felt he was being interrupted by the host. How much of that is frustration out of losing quarterback Dak Prescott for the season and having lost to Washington 25-3 last Sunday?

#5 The Houston Texans (5-1) announced on Wednesday that they have closed their training facility due to a positive Covid-19 test from second-year offensive guard Max Scharping . The Texans said that the facility will remain closed for deep cleaning and they will take advantage of the bye week on Nov 1st and test players and get the facility ready for their next game Nov 8th against the Jaguars (1-6) in Jacksonville.

Jessica Kwong does Headline Sports every other Thursday at



Headlines Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Niners favored by a TD; Ravens ten point favorites; plus more

@Ravens photo: Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Playoffs on Saturday

On Headlines Sports with Tony Renteria:

#1 Will the task be easy for the San Francisco 49ers to get by the Minnesota Vikings Saturday or it’s not as easy as it looks. The 49ers picked by seven. In San Francisco’s last game they just got by the Seattle Seahawks by the slimmest of margins 26-21 and for the Minnesota Vikings they just got by the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome 26-20 on a pass to Kyle Rudolph from quarterback Kirk Cousins for the win.

#2 The Ravens have been a pick as on odds favorites to make the Super Bowl, they’ve had lots of rest since their last game of the regular season on Dec 29th against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 28-10 win. It was a game where quarterback LaMar Jackson sat out to rest for the playoffs as Jackson and the Raven are favored to beat the Tennessee Titans this Saturday by 10 points.

#3 The Houston Texans are in Kansas City the Chiefs for Saturday’s playoff match the Chiefs are favored by nine in this one. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mohomes in his last game against San Diego went 16-25 for 174 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

#4 The Seattle Seahawks are in Green Bay, the Packers are favored by four points this one could be even closer than the odds. This game will feature two of the NFC’s best quarterbacks for Seattle Russell Wilson in NFC Wild Card game was 18-30 for 325 yards and for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers on the last day of the season on Dec 29th vs. Detroit went 27-55 for a whopping 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Tony does Headline Sports each week at

NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A preview look at all four playoff games this weekend

nfl playoffs logo

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

Joe will take you through each of the following games with news and analysis:


#1 Minnesota @ San Francisco: The Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins can work the offense he’s one of the key reasons why the Vikings are where they are in a huge comeback victory over the Saints last weekend. The 49ers got a narrow win themselves when the 49ers prevented the Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle to score in the fourth quarter to insure home field advantage.

#2 Tennessee @ Baltimore: The Tennessee Titans (10-7) battle, scratched and clawed to get this far they take a lot of faith and hope into this next game against the Baltimore Ravens. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 8-15 for 72 yards and a touchdown in the Titans last game against the New England Patriots in a 20-13 win. For the Ravens (14-2) they’ve been picked as favorites to make the Super Bowl and have tons of confidence in their starting quarterback LaMar Jackson who got this far.


#3 Houston @ Kansas City: The Houston Texans got a three point win in their last game over the Buffalo Bills 22-19 to advance to the next round of the playoffs. The Texans with quarterback Deshaun Watson under center threw 247 yards against the Bills and had one touchdown. The favored Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) with quarterback Patrick Mahomes under center have been doing it all year. In the Chiefs last game Mahomes threw for 174 yards, went 16-25 and a touchdown.

#4 Seattle @ Green Bay: This game could be the game of the week in the NFL Playoffs this weekend. This game will provide two of the most exciting quarterbacks in football with Russell Wilson going for the Seahawks and Aaron Rogers going for the Green Bay Packers. In Wilson’s last game against the 49ers Wilson went 25-40, 233 yards, and two touchdowns. For the Packers (13-3) quarterback Aaron Rogers in his last game against Detroit went 27-55 for 323 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

Joe Hawkes podcasts the NFL post season each Friday and will be covering the NFC Division game at Levis Stadium between Minnesota and San Francisco at

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: A look at this weekends playoff games; Cal tries to get back in win column host Wazuu this Thursday file photo: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass as he throws a pass that was fumbled and recovered by the New Orleans Saints in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans.

On the Headlines podcast with Barbara

#1 Taking a look at NFC Playoff game for Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings who surprised just about everybody with a huge victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome come to Levis Stadium on Saturday to face the 49ers. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a overtime four yard touchdown pass for the victory could the Vikings shock the 49ers too?

#2 The AFC Playoff game for Saturday the Tennessee Titans will face the Baltimore Ravens a team favored to make the Super Bowl the Ravens have been tough all year.

#3 On Sunday in the AFC the Houston Texans are in Kansas City to face the rugged Chiefs. The Chiefs with quarterback Patrick Mahomes have been doing it all season.

#4 Seattle got that big victory in Philadelphia on Sunday now head to Green Bay this should one for the ages as this one will be played on a very tough Lambeau Field

#5 Cal’s Men’s basketball has seen some tough times they took a tough loss to the Stanford Cardinal last Saturday and are hoping to turn things around this Thursday at Haas Pavilion against the visiting Washington State Cougars.

Join Barbara each Tuesday for all the latest in Headline Sports at

NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A look at all the playoff teams this weekend Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) fights for yards against Tennessee Titans defensive back Tramaine Brock (35) as he makes a first down reception during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Nashville.

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

#1 On Saturday AFC Playoffs It’s the Houston Texans hosting the Buffalo Bills the Texans are 2.5 point favorites

#2 The Tennessee Titans are in New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Pats with home field advantage are favored by 4.5.

#3 Sunday’s NFC games: Taking a look at the New Orleans Saints led by quarterback Drew Brees will be in Minnesota. The Saints are favored by eight.

#4 Seattle is the slight underdog as they come calling in Philadelphia against the Eagles who are favored by 1.

J Hawkes will take you right through the NFL playoffs each Friday at

Watson does in Raiders with late touchdown in 27-24 win

Photo credit:

By Jeremy Kahn

Deshaun Watson showed the Oakland Raiders why he is already one of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League.

Watson threw for 279 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to Darren Fells late in the fourth quarter, helping the Houston Texans to a come-from-behind 27-24 victory over the Raiders at NRG Stadium.

That game-winning touchdown pass gave the Texans their only lead of the game, and sent the Raiders to their second straight loss.

After the Texans next drive stalled, former Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley, who was traded to the Texans earlier this week knocked down a key third down pass to Tyrell Williams.

It was a nice afternoon for Fells, who ended up with 58 yards receiving and two touchdowns, while DeAndre Hopkins caught 11 passes for 109 yards.

In the loss, Derek Carr threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, as the Raiders could not secure what would have been a huge win on the road before returning to the friendly confines of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the first time since a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on September 15.

Carr gave the Raiders a 21-13 lead in the third quarter, as he found Williams for a 46-yard touchdown pass.

Watson got the Texans within one at 21-20, when he found Fells for a four-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter.

Daniel Carlson kicked a 44-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 24-20 with a little under 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Unfortunately, the Raiders were unable to hold onto the lead, as Watson found Fells for the eventual game-winning touchdown.

Carr got the Raiders on the board in the first quarter, as he found Watsons former college teammate Hunter Renfrow for a 65-yard touchdown pass.

NOTES: Texans All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt was lost for the season for the Texans, as he tore his pectoral muscle.

Josh Mauro was forced to leave the game in the first quarter with a groin injury and Rodney Hudson left the game in the first half with an ankle injury.

UP NEXT: Finally, the Raiders return to the Coliseum next Sunday when they host the Detroit Lions at 1:05 p.m.