The 49ers traveled to Glendale this past weekend, intent on handing the undefeated Cardinals their first loss of the season. They came up short, however, losing 17-10 on Sunday. It was San Francisco’s third straight loss, but this time, rookie quarterback Trey Lance got his first NFL start in what figures to be a long career in the Bay Area.
It was a choppy performance, with plenty of good and bad moments. You can watch every single play made by Lance during his debut in a YouTube video provided by the NFL. But it was a workmanlike performance, with Lance showing his toughness on several occasions. He had plenty of chances to, with coach Kyle Shanahan dialing up an array of QB runs on the afternoon.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan created a conservative game plan centered around Lance’s legs. The third overall pick who went 17-0 at North Dakota State, Lance had 89 yards on 16 carries. He completed 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards and threw an interception, posting a 58.4 passer rating.Eric Branch/San Francisco Chronicle
Those numbers certainly won’t blow anybody away. Though it’s clear that Lance possesses potentially elite two-way skills for a quarterback. Furthermore, the 49ers offense played better than the score indicates. Led by Lance, the offense drove into Cardinals territory on eight on its nine drives. Turnovers, mostly on downs, doomed San Francisco.
… the 49ers drove into Arizona territory on eight of their nine drives. They finished with more yards — 338 to 304 — than Arizona and had only one fewer first down. The problem is that they turned the ball over to the Cardinals five times, once on Lance’s opening-drive interception and four others after failing to convert fourth-down attempts.Matt Barrows/The Athletic
These two plays in particular are good representations of Lance’s debut: a lot of effort, but few results. First, here’s a 4th-and-goal play that is stopped inches short of the goal line, with Lance risking it all to score six points.
That’s a tough break for the rook. His effort was fantastic, but the results catastrophic.
Here’s another one. No helmet, who cares? Says Lance, anyway.
Shanahan said postgame that when starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, he’ll get his job back. But Lance’s performance was a glimpse into the future. The only question is when Lance, the No. 3 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, will take over.
One thing is for certain, however: the 49ers have to get back on a winning track, regardless of who is behind center. With a 2-3 record, the team has a bye week to figure it out, not to mention get healthy. And that includes giving Lance some rest after a rough-and-tumble debut as a starting NFL quarterback.