Lance gets rare taste of do-or-die situation at 49ers practice


SANTA CLARA -- In Trey Lance’s only full season as a college starter, North Dakota State outscored its opponents on average by 25 points.

On Tuesday, he experienced something he was never asked to do: Manage a touchdown-or-nothing situation with time running out.

In a red-zone drill with :08 on the clock, Lance threw short of the goal line to tight end Charlie Woerner, who was met by linebacker Marcell Harris.

No touchdown.

Time expired.

Lesson learned.

“It’s a tough position to be in because we had no timeouts and you have to go to the end zone, no matter what,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Very rarely are things open in rhythm. You have to buy time, which is part of it. But when we threw it short, not into the end zone, that wasn’t very good awareness. We got to go into the end zone or out of bounds. That’s what the situation is.

“You’re not always happy with everything, and it wasn’t just his group. It was kind of all three of the groups. Wish it went perfect, but it’s good to have film when you go in. Glad it went good for the D.”

Jimmy Garoppolo went for the end zone, but he fared even worse when cornerback Emmanuel Moseley intercepted his pass intended for Brandon Aiyuk.

RELATED: Rookie QB report: Lance, Fields dazzle; Wilson struggles

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s padded practice:

—Wide receiver Jalen Hurd did not practice. Said Shanahan, “Some things were bothering him today . . . He just didn’t feel right this morning.”

—Linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is in the concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury on Sunday.

—Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell could be in the picture as the team’s third-down back, but he will have to show he can handle the responsibilities in blitz pickup. Veteran James Burgess Jr. beat Mitchell badly in a one-on-drill.
Mitchell bounced back well against Dre Greenlaw. Afterward, the two scuffled as Mitchell continued to hold his block and push Greenlaw past the play. A short time later, Jonas Griffith got the best of Mitchell.
Shanahan said he sees a willingness from Mitchell and fellow rookie Trey Sermon to do the job in pass protection, and the backs are at a disadvantage because cut blocks are not allowed in practice.

—D.J. Jones had a would-be sack in an 11-on-11 drill.

—Linebacker Fred Warner had a strong practice in pass coverage. He stopped George Kittle for a 2-yard gain after a pass from Garoppolo that originated at the 6-yard line. On the next play, Warner broke up Garoppolo’s pass intended for Aiyuk at the goal line.

—Lance fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to Aiyuk between defensive backs B.W. Webb and Jared Mayden in coverage.

—Josh Rosen, who is battling Nate Sudfeld to be the No. 3 quarterback, had a 6-yard scoring pass to Jauan Jennings. A short time later, Jennings nearly had another touchdown, this time from Lance, but he did not get two feet inbounds in the back of the end zone.

—Lance took a low snap from center Jake Brendel, then drew a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu against Webb’s tight coverage.

—Lance hit receiver Trent Sherfield on a 34-yard pass down the left sideline against cornerback Ken Webster. But Webster redeemed himself three plays later when he broke up Lance’s third-and-7 pass intended for Sherfield in a move-the-chains period.

—Rosen connected with Austin Watkins Jr. against Dontae Johnson on a play that went for 51 yards and a touchdown.

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