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Morning Report: NFL.com Believes 49ers are 'Contenders' Despite 2-2 Start

Good Morning Faithful,

Here are your top 49ers storylines for Thursday, October 7.

New and Notable

Trey Lance Sees Starting Reps But Door Isn't Closed on Jimmy G for Week 5

With Jimmy Garoppolo on the sidelines at practice following his Week 4 calf injury, Trey Lance is getting his first look at starting reps . And unlike last week when the rookie was thrust into action at a moment's notice, Kyle Shanhan and the 49ers have a full week to construct a game plan catered to the rookie's skill set.

"To have a week, I think it was huge for him too having all that time where he could just go play quarterback and do some other cards, some other defenses and not really get tied down to learning what's in that day," Shanahan said on Monday. "Just playing football and getting better at that. These practices are more about learning what we do all morning, carrying it over to the field, correcting it at night, coming in the next morning with questions and how you build up through the week to where you get to Sunday night and you're confident and ready to go to play."

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Jimmy Garoppolo to Test Calf in Final Practice Ahead of Matchup vs. Cardinals

While the assumption is that No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance is likely to see starting snaps against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan anticipates Jimmy Garoppolo taking one more shot at preparing for the contest with his availability in the team's final session of the week on Friday.

"Jimmy told me he wants to give it a go tomorrow, so we'll see him out on the practice field tomorrow," Shanahan said Thursday afternoon on KNBR. "If he looks good, then he'll have a shot. If he can't, then we'll shut him down."

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NFL.com Believes 49ers are Still Contenders Despite 2-2 Record

Analytics expert Cynthia Frelund comprised her annual list of "contenders" and "pretenders," but this time around, focusing on teams who are currently sitting at .500 that she would consider to have playoff potential.

Of the four contenders, Frelund highlighted the 49ers and their potential to bounce back following back-to-back losses to make their way to the postseason. Here's what Frelund had to say about San Francisco:

Ahead of the season, the NFC West was projected to be the most competitive division in football -- and four weeks in, that continues to be true. (Yes, I checked this group against the AFC West.) Still, the Niners make the playoffs in 52.4 percent of simulations, even with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Star tight end George Kittle has not been targeted on his routes as often as he has been in previous seasons, logging a target on 26.5 percent of routes in 2021 after reaching marks of 30.1 percent in 2020 and 33.5 percent in 2019. But based on the NGS numbers, there is reason to believe Kittle will be targeted more frequently in the future: He's been open -- meaning, he's gotten 3-plus yards of separation -- on more than half of his targets (51.7%).

Ways to Watch and Listen to 49ers vs. Cardinals

The 49ers will head back out on the road to State Farm Stadium for the team's second-straight divisional matchup. Taking on the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers will look to bounce back after two-consecutive losses at 1:25 pm PT on Sunday, October 10. Here are all the ways to follow the game.

In the Community

75 for 75

"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting moments in the team's history as part of the franchise's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

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September 9, 2012

Many observers questioned 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to send David Akers onto Lambeau Field to attempt a 63-yard field goal before halftime against the Green Bay Packers. 

"I made 61 (yard field goal) in pregame and felt pretty good that I could get it there if I just struck it right," Akers said. "But when I hit it, I felt like I missed it."

Akers' line-drive kick had just enough distance. It hit the crossbar, then bounced up and over for three points as the first half expired, providing the 49ers with a 16-7 halftime advantage. 

Read all of the entries in the 49ers Museum's 75 for 75 series on 49ers.com/museumstories.

Say Cheese

Check out some of the best photos from this week's practices as the 49ers begin preparations for their Week 5 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

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