INGLEWOOD, Los Angeles County – When Trey Lance looks bad? It’s brutal.
And when the 49ers quarterback looks good? Staggering.
The No.3 pick spent Sunday night taking turns looking like an unprepared rookie who has only made 17 starts in North Dakota state, and a 6-foot-4, 224 double-threat. books that can give the NFL defensive coordinators migraines, tremors, and indigestion.
The takeaway from the 49ers’ 15-10 preseason win over the Chargers at SoFi Stadium: Lance is probably too raw and inconsistent to start in front of Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 1, but he could be awesome – with a little patience. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said at the start of training camp that Garoppolo was the clear starter “right now”. And Shanahan said not much changed when asked about his QB hierarchy after Sunday’s game.
“The situation is quite similar,” he said.
However, Shanahan also declined to name Garoppolo as a starter for the season opener against Detroit on September 12.
“No, I am not making this announcement,” he said. “Nice try anyway.”
Lance’s opener suggested he wouldn’t be ready to start until 2022. His six-possession performance started off with three sorry streaks, in which he completed 1 of 6 passes for 9 yards with one interception and another pass. that should have been chosen. And then he retired from the canvas to finish in style, completing 7 of 8 passes – the incompleteness was a drop – for 93 yards with two touchdowns, a 5 yard wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and a right throw. – a 16-yard rocket in the middle to get Travis Benjamin out of the way.
In other words, it sounded like Lance’s erratic NFL debut a week earlier. Lance began by completing 4 of 6 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown against Kansas City and ended by completing 1 of 8 attempts for 3 yards.
Shanahan said he wasn’t caught in the ebb and flow of Lance, realizing there would be growing pains, but was excited to level off as the 49ers’ social media hyperventilating.
“I was happy for him,” Shanahan said. “You understand the situation. I understand that whatever Trey does, all eyes will be on him. So I didn’t want him to have that pressure. But it is also the reality of this profession.
Lance completed 13 of 28 passes for 230 yards with three touchdowns and one pre-season interception (95.8 passers). The result of his 14 possessions: nine punts, three touchdowns, a basket and an interception. His numbers would be much better if it weren’t for five dropped passes, including two on Sunday. And his numbers would be unsightly if it weren’t for four incompleteness that were near-interceptions, including two next Sunday.
Lance has had his new red shirt moments, but he said he didn’t feel like he did in 2018 in North Dakota state when he was behind Easton Stick, replacing the Chargers QB. which started on Sunday.
“A different mindset, of course,” Lance said. “I know Easton at the time was the starter. Easton was the most successful quarterback in FCS history, so I had no reason to take that spot from him. For me, I guess it’s similar (this season) in that I’m able to learn as much as possible. At the same time, I think now I’m in a position where I still have to compete and be a little more ready than I was as a redshirt rookie in college.
Sunday’s game started with the 49ers’ competition hitting a low as Lance and Garoppolo combined to put together a tutorial on how to throw high passes.
What is the opposite of Joe Montana vs. Steve Young? These were the 49ers’ first four possessions on Sunday.
Garoppolo opened by leading a 15-play, 45-yard practice that ended with a pass down the middle to Brandon Aiyuk in the 3rd and 12th of 34 for the Chargers who came out of the hands of the wide receiver and was intercepted. By Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. Garoppolo completed 3 of 6 passes for 15 yards on his practice alone.
“I have to get him down,” Garoppolo said of his pick. “Without a doubt.”
Then Lance came in – and his first three sets were even more forgettable.
On his first, he shot a fastball behind wide receiver Deebo Samuel who fell incomplete at 3rd and 8th of the 45 of the 49ers.
On the third game of his second, Lance threw an off-target pitch, 3rd and 4th, which bounced off Sanu’s outstretched hands and joined cornerback Tevaughn Campbell for an interception in the 32nd of the 49ers.
Lance then started his third, which was a three-and-out, wildly missing a short pass to tight end Charlie Woerner who struck the hands of linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga.
“I was definitely frustrated,” Lance said. “But at the same time, I learned so much from each of these records that it was easy to turn the page.”
Lance’s arm strength is one of his elite qualities. However, he could bear to take a few miles per hour on his fastball on occasion to provide receivers with a more catchable ball.
And just when it seemed like touching was an alien concept for Lance, he began to turn the tide by floating a pass over a 41-yard defenseman on the straight sideline to wide receiver Trent Sherfield in game four. of his fourth drive. Two games later, Lance finished the game in six games and 75 yards with a 5-yard throw to Sanu just 15 seconds before halftime.
After halftime, Shanahan gave Lance some extra possession. And he made the most of it by leading an 11-play, 63-yard run which he crowned by backing up, looking to the right and then turning to launch a missile in the middle at Benjamin for a 16-yard score.
It was an exclamation mark for a night filled with mistakes, and moments that suggested Lance might, ultimately, be awesome.
Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Eric_Branch
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