• Robert Moore

Searching for Lance-rs, Part 2:The Ins, Outs and What-Have-Yous of Trey's First NFL Start

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The 49ers could not come away with the victory in Trey Lance’s debut,a close game that ended 17-10, Arizona. In what seems to be a reoccurring theme this season, the 49ers continued to defeat themselves: Another divisional game filled with penalties, dropped passes,poor offensive line play and missed opportunities that will likely end up hurting them at the end of this season. Although there is a long way to go, the 49ers are now 0-2 within the division after back-to-back losses to the Seahawks and the Cardinals. This is not the start that most fans envisioned this season, however, there are bright spots when it comes to the rookie Lance after his debut. Here is a breakdown of his performance:

The Good:

It’s easy to see Trey Lance’s arm talent throughout the game. Passes like these are reasons for fans to be excited about the future:

This pass to Brandon Aiyuk is perfectly placed ball, thrown with anticipation. Aiyuk is just beginning to break on the route when Lance releases the ball. The placement and arm strength are what made this third-down conversion possible.

Lance was on the move when he made this slightly high pass to Deebo Samuel, and it gave Samuel, who has been the 49ers’ best offensive player so far this season, a chance to go up and get it.

This pass to Mohammed Sanu would have converted a third and long, but Sanu could not make the catch.

The Bad:

Last week versus the Seahawks, Lance came in and seemed overly anxious as I referenced in Part 1 of Searching for Lance-rs. Against the Cardinals, Lance threw an opening-drive interception:

This pass sailed on him, and he had an excellent opportunity to run, but these are the types of plays we can expect from Lance from time to time as he gets accustomed to the NFL.

Football is often referred to as a game of inches and the following play is a perfect example of that:

On fourth down, Lance keeps the ball and collides with a few Cardinals defensive players at the goal line, which ends up in a change of possession. He had a last-moment opportunity to dump a pass off to Mitchell, who had come open after the defenders committed to stopping the quarterback. Although this play showed guts and determination, this is not the type of collision you want your rookie quarterback taking in his first-game action.

This was a bad pass to Deebo Samuel on a screen play that likely would have resulted in a touchdown. Last week, I highlighted nice ball placement on a screen pass Lance had to Samuel against the Seahawks on a very comparable play. Consistency will be key going forward for Lance.

Moving Forward:

If Lance is the starter from this point on, it will be important for him to stay calm early. Better play calling from head coach Kyle Shanahan would help with some easy layup-type throws to help Lance quickly gain confidence.Trey Lance was recently reported to have a mild knee sprain following the Cardinals game. For the sake of Lance’s longevity in the NFL, he will need to learn to slide and to get out of bounds more frequently. Lance took a beating throughout this game, and it will be important for him to protect himself more. Anytime a rookie quarterback is starting, there will be positives and negatives.The result of this game was a loss, but in retrospect, it could have easily been won had a few things gone differently. If the 49ers can improve their offensive play around Lance and limit the penalties, I would expect that they will come away with some victories soon. For now, the 49ers will go into their bye week and hopefully get healthy enough to string together some wins.


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