Lance starting under center was something many 49ers fans had been anticipating going back to last season, as it became beyond clear that although previous starter Jimmy Garoppolo is an above-average QB, he has placed a ceiling on the team’s potential due to his limitations.
Fans have seemingly been split in two, with some wanting Garoppolo to continue to start for at least one more season, while others wanted to turn the offense over to Lance right away.
Of course, head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media once training camp started that it is Lance’s team now, and Garoppolo, ever the class act, did not complain one iota.
On Friday versus the Green Bay Packers, Lance flashed some of his potential during the limited playing time he got, and he looked about as good as advertised.
Lance Was Effective And Poised
The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s NFL draft took the field with 13:26 left in the first quarter after San Francisco forced the Packers to punt on their first series.
Lance’s first play was to hand the ball off to running back Trey Sermon, a fourth-stringer, for a two-yard gain.
On the next snap, Lance was momentarily pressured, but he wheeled away from defenders and found the room to run the ball himself, sliding for a seven-yard gain that almost got the 49ers a first down.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) August 14, 2022
He has been lauded for his ability to move the chains with his feet when no passing lanes are available, and that second snap was an example of just that.
He was even aware of a defender coming at him from his blind side, and he somehow evaded him to turn what may have been a sack for other QBs into a very productive play.
A lot is made of Trey Lance’s ability to throw/run but rarely you hear people talk about his pocket awareness, which is arguably one of his best attributes imo
I love that he feels/evades pressure, keeps his eyes downfield, resets to throw, then takes off & slides for + yards pic.twitter.com/4oMIvOVBsh
— Brad (@Graham_SFN) August 14, 2022
On the Niners’ next snap, Lance went to Sermon again, who gained three yards for a first down, then he completed his first pass of the day to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud for eight yards.
After two more handoffs to Sermon, Lance had a short completion for three yards to tight end Ross Dwelley, then he threw a 20-yard shot to rookie wideout Danny Gray, who caught the ball but was just barely out of bounds.
With San Francisco facing a fourth down from the Packers’ 32-yard line, Robbie Gould converted a 50-yard field goal to put it on the board.
After Green Bay scored on a touchdown pass from Love to Romeo Doubs, Lance took the field again and served up a small gem.
On his first snap of the series, he was sacked for a four-yard loss, then gave it to Sermon for a five-yard gain.
Then, on third down and nine from the Niners’ 24-yard line, Lance throw a long bomb to Gray, who got separation from his defender and made the catch inside of the Packers’ 45-yard line, then took it all the way almost uncontested for a touchdown.
Trey Lance: QB1pic.twitter.com/441q02a4zB
— PFF (@PFF) August 13, 2022
That was it for the second-year man on the day, as he was expected to play just one series but ended up piloting two instead.
It was a good thing head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to give Lance that second series, otherwise we wouldn’t have seen a glimpse of his ability to make big plays downfield.