The 49ers might not have faced a pass rush from the Texans on Sunday, but one individual wasn’t stopped from running untouched to San Francisco’s head coach.
During the Week 17 game at Levi’s Stadium, a young fan took off upfield and reached Kyle Shanahan at the 49ers’ sideline before being escorted away by security. According to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, the team’s equipment manager intervened to walk the spectator to security.
“That scared the hell out of me. It threw me off so bad, I didn’t know what was going on. And now I feel bad, I wish I had pounded the kid because respect,” Shanahan said after the game.
Normally, fans who rush onto the field are swiftly met by security and often forcefully tackled to the ground before being removed from the field of play. This fan appeared to reach Shanahan without any interference. The only guard seen in the above video was watching helplessly from the end zone.
“I don’t know how he got down there, but I was just looking at my call sheet and I hear a soft voice in front of me saying, ‘Holy cow, Kyle Shanahan.’ I didn’t know if it was my son at first or what, but it startled me a little bit, and then I realized it was a kid,” Shanahan said. “I’ve never seen a kid run on the field, and then I said, ‘Wow, man. How’d you get down here?’ And then security got him.
“I wish I was able to give him something.”
The fan was one of the few non-49ers who were able to run untouched on the field during San Francisco’s 23-7 victory. San Francisco quarterback Trey Lance was sacked just once and Houston tallied only two quarterback hits on the dual-threat rookie.
Lance, who was filling in for starter Jimmy Garoppolo, completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He rushed eight times for 31 yards. Garoppolo missed Sunday’s game with a thumb injury.
San Francisco fans have clamored to see more of Lance, the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, this season. Garoppolo and Lance were used in different packages during the preseason, but Lance has rarely seen the field during the regular season. He threw a 5-yard touchdown pass in Week 1 and rushed for a score in Week 3 before filling in for Garoppolo (calf) in Week 4.
Lance completed 9 of 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns, to go with seven rushes for 41 yards, in a loss to the Seahawks. He lost the following week to the Cardinals after going just 15 for 29 for 192 yards, with no touchdowns and an interceptions, while rushing 16 times for 89 yards.
For the season, Garoppolo has completed 68 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The 49ers (9-7) are on the verge of reaching the NFC playoffs.
Madison Williams contributed to this report.