Brock Purdy

What we learned as Purdy shows he's ready in 49ers' preseason finale

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SANTA CLARA — The pregame focus was not on the 49ers’ starting quarterback, and there was not a lot of discussion about the backup, either.

No, all the talk was about Trey Lance, who was the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback for a total of two days before he disappeared from the depth chart altogether.

The 49ers made news approximately 2 1/2 hours before kickoff on Friday with the trade that sends Lance to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 49ers lost 23-12 to the Los Angeles Chargers to close out the preseason at Levi’s Stadium.

Now, it’s all about making the initial cuts to the regular-season limit of 53 players and begin preparations to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 on Sept. 10.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

Purdy is ready to roll

Starting quarterback Brock Purdy played the first two series of the game, took a total of 19 snaps, and that was it for the preseason.

When Purdy underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing elbow, his availability for the start of the regular season was in question.

But as soon as he was cleared on the first day of training camp, there was never again a doubt.

Purdy clearly is ready for Week 1 against the Steelers.

On Friday, he played two drives that totaled 137 yards.

Purdy completed five of his nine pass attempts for 73 yards, and scored the 49ers’ first touchdown of the game on a 5-yard scramble.

The first drive ended when running back Jordan Mason fumbled just before breaking the plane of the goal line.

Kicking game in world of hurt

If it wasn’t enough that struggling rookie kicker Jake Moody sustained a quadriceps injury during the week, the 49ers also lost their other kicker.

Veteran Zane Gonzalez, who missed all of last season due to a groin injury, sustained a right calf strain during pregame warmups.

The 49ers did not have the services of either kicker, forcing punter Mitch Wishnowsky to take over.

With fullback Kyle Juszczyk holding, Wishnowsky shanked his extra point attempt in the first quarter.

With NFL teams obligated to cut their rosters to 53 players on Tuesday, the 49ers might be in a tricky situation. Will Moody be ready for the season opener on Sunday, Sept. 10? How about Gonzalez?

The 49ers cannot feel much confidence in their kicking situation after investing the No. 99 overall pick in Moody.

Meanwhile, the most-accurate kicker in franchise history, Robbie Gould, remains available as a free agent.

Decisions in the receiver room

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk started and played the first two series. Aiyuk supplied a highlight with a 35-yard catch and run off a Purdy pass.

The other big play of the first half came from veteran receiver Chris Conley, who made a diving 34-yard grab of a Darnold pass.

However, Conley went to the locker room with a left shoulder injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Conley put himself in position for a spot on the team, but his injury could close the door on the possibility of him sticking with the club.

The 49ers appear certain to keep Ronnie Bell, who has helped his case with steady play as a punt returner in the preseason. Ray-Ray McCloud could miss time at the beginning of the season after undergoing recent surgery to repair a broken wrist.

Of course, Aiyuk, Samuel and Jauan Jennings are locks.

Then, the 49ers could keep Danny Gray on the initial 53-man roster before moving him to injured reserve. He is expected to miss extended time with a shoulder injury.

That would create a path for the 49ers to re-sign Snead, Anthony Miller, Tay Martin or Conley (if his injury is not long term) to the regular-season roster as the sixth receiver.

Snead, an eight-year NFL veteran, appeared in four games last season for the 49ers. On Friday, he had a 6-yard touchdown catch from Darnold in the third quarter that gave the 49ers a 12-10 lead.

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