Trey Lance

Trey Lance turns page, leads 49ers to preseason win

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SANTA CLARA -- Not only did 49ers quarterback Trey Lance have to bounce back from a rough preseason opener, he also had to overcome a less-than-ideal first drive Saturday night.

Lance finished strong and led the 49ers on three consecutive scoring drives to set the table for Jake Moody’s short game-winning field goal in the 49ers’ 21-20 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium.

“I feel like every time I step on the field I learn so much and get so much better from every rep, whether it’s practice, games, whatever, just seeing as many pictures as I can and getting as many reps as I can with these guys,” Lance said.

Lance completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 173 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception thrown.

Lance’s 22-yard strike to rookie tight end Cameron Latu with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled the 49ers to within two points.

Then, the 49ers got the ball back at their own 22-yard line with 2:01 remaining. Lance’s passes to receiver Ronnie Bell that covered 19 and 43 yards moved the 49ers into range for Moody’s winning kick.

“I thought we were on the same page, for sure,” Lance said. “A lot of guys made great plays. That last drive, for sure, it moved a lot faster than I anticipated with those guys making big plays and Ronnie breaking tackles.”

Lance is in competition for the No. 2 job with Sam Darnold behind Brock Purdy. Each of the team’s three quarterbacks had their moments Saturday.

But things did not start off so well for Lance, whose dump-off pass intended for Jeremy McNichol in the third quarter was intercepted. Denver defensive end Matt Henningsen deflected the pass and defensive lineman Elijah Garcia made the interception.

“He made a heck of a play,” Lance said. “I got to find a way to get it to Jeremy in that situation, so that’s unfortunate.”

Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was the subject of a lot of national criticism after his preseason-opening performance against the Las Vegas Raiders.

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His decision-making looked crisper and he threw the ball accurately from the pocket and on the move.

“My mindset today was just to move on, turn the page and continue to go and continue to attack the defense with whatever play gets called,” he said.

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