Lance's debut consisted of both good and bad, as expected


SANTA CLARA -- Trey Lance’s night of work did not conclude when he exited the game after the first series of the second half.

Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, suited up for his 49ers preseason debut on Saturday at Levi's Stadium.

The film study would not have to wait long, as Lance already had his postgame plan.

“I’ll watch that game tonight, for sure,” Lance said, following the 49ers’ 19-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the exhibition opener.

And what 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan expects Lance to see is a mixed bag. And that is exactly what he wanted -- and expected -- out of the rookie quarterback.

“There was some good and some bad,” Shanahan said. “By no means was it perfect. He definitely missed a couple. There were a couple of spots that you’d like him to go different places (with his pass attempts). Sometimes a couple balls that sailed on him that he’d like to have back.

“Good first day. I didn’t want it to go perfect for him. You want some things to learn from.”

Lance completed just 4 of 15 pass attempts for 128 yards. His debut was highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Sherfield, with whom he has built a good rapport during training camp.

“Being able to play with Trey is an amazing thing,” Sherfield said. “He’s a young phenom and he’s going to be really, really good in this league.”

Lance was greeted by a hug from veteran left tackle Trent Williams, one of a bunch of healthy veteran starters who were held out of the game as a precaution. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo flashed a big smile and gave Lance a pat on the helmet after he came to the sideline.

“It was awesome,” Garoppolo said. “We kind of saw it coming, knowing the play, and everything, watching Trent the whole time. He broke the guy off and Trey put a beautiful pass out there.

“You got a couple different options, I guess. I think Trey definitely picked the right one.”

Lance rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns during his only season as the starter at North Dakota State. He did not have any rushing attempts on Saturday. He was sacked four times, and took responsibility for those 31 negative yards.

“It’s another opportunity to get the ball out of my hands and to the guys who are dynamic making plays,” Lance said. “It’s something for me that I’ll continue to learn from, getting the ball out of my hands and into those guys’ hands.

“But the offensive line did a great job today. It’s on me, 100 percent, as far as the protection goes and everything like that. Me using my legs to make plays, extend plays, extend drives, I wish I would've done that a little better tonight as well.”

During his 29-snap stint, Lance faced a lot of different situations, including a series that started at the 49ers’ 1-yard line and a late-half hurry-up situation.

His next-best play came when he completed a 34-yard pass to tight end Charlie Woerner, who was Lance’s second read on the play.

It was Lance’s second game in a year-and-a-half, as North Dakota State played just one game in the fall of 2020. The school’s football season was pushed to the spring, by which time Lance had already declared for the draft.

RELATED: Lance already has accomplished something Jimmy G has not

Lance said he was confident and comfortable entering the game. He leaves it knowing he still has a lot of work ahead of him.

“Every game my mindset is to prepare to the point where I know I’ve done everything I can to put myself in a position to be successful,” Lance said. “At that point, going into every game, I feel like I’m confident and don’t really have a lot to be nervous about.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us