Trey Lance Shines in Limited Action, 49ers Hold Off Packers Comeback to Get First Preseason Win

Aug 12, 2022, 10:22 PM
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 12: Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against...
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 12: Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter of an NFL preseason game at Levi's Stadium on August 12, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers preseason kicked off with a win Friday night, holding off the Green Bay Packers, 28-21.

The storyline of the day for the Red & Gold was first-year starting quarterback Trey Lance and his first game action in his sophomore season.

His performance: Perfect.

The North Dakota State product finished the evening with a 158.3 passer rating, going 4 for 5 with 92 yards and one touchdown. Lance showed poise and confidence in the pocket, moving well and taking what the defense was giving him. His best play of the day came on a go route by rookie Danny Gray in the first quarter, beating his man with speed to allow Lance to drop it right in the bread basket for the 76-yard TD.

Gray finished the day a yard shy of the century mark, catching two passes and scoring the first touchdown of his NFL career.

The second-year QB’s sole poor throw of the day came on an out route connection with Grey, hitting him too late to keep his feet inbounds. Nevertheless, head coach Kyle Shanahan liked what he saw out of his starting QB.

“Seemed solid… He did some good things…Wished we’d kept him out there more but had to get him out,” Shanahan said about Trey Lance postgame.

Speaking to the media as well, Lance took time to credit Gray on his big day, making sure he got his ceremonial ball after the play.

“Throw it to the fast guy,” Lance said with a big smile. “Danny did a great job, he does a great job all camp. Just him being healthy, he’s a different-maker for us on offense.”

Friday’s game was also a first for the young QB, taking his first slide in his football career on a seven-yard scramble in the first quarter. He made sure the media knew that in the postgame presser.

“That was my first time sliding in my whole entire life,” Lance said with a big laugh.

Sliding over to the running game, Trey Sermon and rookie Ty Davis-Price saw the majority of the carries in this one, combining for 16 of the 27 attempts among 49ers’ running backs. While the second-year Buckeye started out the game, it was his counterpart from LSU that dazzled, finishing the day with 36 yards on 10 carries. His best play came in the third quarter, taking a run up the middle before cutting back on the outside defender to pick up 10 yards and the first down.

With Elijah Mitchell out due to injury, the time was now for these young halfbacks to make their case in Shanahan’s offense, as Fred Warner was impressed by their individual performances.

“I love what I saw, especially on all sides of the offense. I think the running backs ran really hard and that’s exactly what Kyle wants. He wants them to turn out the tough yards, when they make contact with the defender. How much more can they get after that, you know, and so I think that all those guys have the right mindset. They’re coached really well and so they did really good,” Warner said.

Rookie halfback Jordan Mason also saw some action in the fourth quarter, churning out six carries for 30 yards. He was pivotal for the Bay Area team to the ice the game late.

On the defensive side of the ball, rookie defensive end Drake Jackson made is NFL debut, quickly showing why the 49ers were so high on him on draft night. Equipped with agility and bend that most lineman dream of, the USC prospect made numerous plays out on the field Friday. Two plays stuck out: The first on a chase-down tackle of Jordan Love, taking off down the left side before halting him for a minimal gain. The second was on a play action rollout, getting to the quarterback unblocked before batting down Love’s pass attempt with his athleticism.

Sadly that was all she wrote for the former trojan, leaving the game in the second quarter due to a shoulder issue. Shanahan conformed after the game that Jackson sustained a stinger to the shoulder and is expected to be back soon.

Moving back into the secondary, the star of the day was rookie Samuel Womack III, coming up with two picks in his NFL debut. The former Toledo Rocket is a fourth round in the 2022 draft, but played like he’d been in the league for years, ballhawking and outmuscling both INTs in this contest.

“I feel like I had a great game,” Womack stated. “I still have stuff that I have to learn from to get better at, but I feel like I was taking advantage of my opportunities.”

On the other side of the field, Friday night was not good outing for third-year QB Jordan Love, finishing the day with three picks and a 66 passer rating. Although he threw two touchdowns, Love said it was a bad night as a whole for the Wisconsin team, crediting the 49ers for taking advantage on their mistakes.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 12: Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game at Levi’s Stadium on August 12, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

“It could’ve been a better night for everybody. The ball just bounced a weird way. The 49ers capitalized on those plays. Obviously, no one wants that to happen and it sucks when it does,” Love said.

Departing the contest in the second half, the Packers kept it close late, thanks to a Danny Etling to Amari Rodgers touchdown early in the fourth quarter, putting Green Bay up 21-20.

Determined to come out with the win, rookie third-stinger Brock Purdy let the 49ers on an impressive drive shortly after, capping it off with an improvised toss to TE Tanner Hudson for the score and the lead.

The sideline was hyped for the Iowa State rookie, celebrating with him as he headed back to the sideline.

“Man, I could go on and on about Purdy,” Warner said with a big grin. “I think he’s a guy, you know, I think some guys just have the “it-factor” and he’s got it. I’m a big Purdy fan so it was pretty cool.”

The 49ers go on the road for their final two preseason games, taking on the Minnesota Vikings next Saturday at 4 p.m. PST.

For all things 49ers and NFL, stay locked in here on Sactown Sports.

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