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Lance electrifies, hits home run in 49ers' exhibition opener

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SANTA CLARA — Rookie quarterback Trey Lance’s first exhibition game looked like a recreation of his practices over the first two weeks of training camp.

It did not take long for Lance to show off his deep ball — something he did with regularity during the early portion of camp.

Lance’s 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Sherfield was the highlight of the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium.

Jimmy Garoppolo greeted him with a big smile and pat on the helmet as the crowd at two-thirds full Levi’s Stadium got what it came to see from the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Lance’s first game consisted of 26 snaps to close out the first half and the first three of the second half. He completed 5 of 14 pass attempts for 128 yards. He was sacked four times for minus-31 yards. Lance did not have a rushing attempt.

After Garoppolo opened as the starter, Lance jogged onto the field at 5:47 p.m. to take his first snap of the exhibition season.

Lance came into the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium with the same offensive line that started the game: right tackle Mike McGlinchey, right guard Daniel Brunskill, center Jake Brendel, left guard Laken Tomlinson and left tackle Jaylon Moore.

Here is a rundown of each snap Lance took in his preseason debut:


1, Lance executed a play-action fake to running back Trey Sermon, hitched a couple of times, then rolled right and delivered a perfectly thrown ball intended for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who dropped the pass. 

2, Sermon took the handoff and gained 2 yards.

3, On third and 8 from the 49ers’ 16-yard line, Lance lined up in the shotgun. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones defeated the one-on-one block attempt of Brunskill for a 7-yard sack. Lance did not have much of a chance.

After the Chiefs scored a touchdown on Chad Henne’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle, the 49ers got the ball back at their own 20.

4, With the same offensive line, Lance again faked to Sermon, and this time rolled left. He had plenty of time, set his feet and delivered a pass across the field to Sherfield, who made the catch at the Kansas City 45. Sherfield got past defensive back Devon Key and took it the rest of the way for an 80-yard touchdown.

Lance’s pass was thrown from the 49ers’ 13-yard line. The pass traveled 42 yards in the air down the field but was also thrown across the field, adding to the distance and displaying Lance’s arm strength.

After Deommodore Lenoir’s interception, Lance went back to work at the Kansas City 45.

The 49ers shuffled in some new offensive linemen: right tackle Tom Compton, right guard Aaron Banks, left guard Colton McKivitz and left tackle Shon Coleman.

5, On first and 10, Sermon gained 5 yards on first down.

6, Sermon gained 4 yards.

7, On third and 1 from the 36, Sermon gained 7 yards.

8, Lance swung a pass to the left to Jauan Jennings, who advanced it upfield for an 11-yard gain. It was ruled a rushing attempt because Lance’s pass was backward.

9, Wayne Gallman Jr. took an inside handoff and gained 3 yards.

10, Lance lined up in the shotgun and was dropped for a 7-yard loss on a sack by untouched blitzing linebacker Omari Cobb.

11, On third and 14, Lance lined up in the shotgun and under pressure unloaded the ball to Gallman for a 2-yard gain. 

The 49ers took over at their own 1-yard line with 9:44 remaining in the first half.

12, Lance play-faked to Gallman, dropped 7 yards deep into the end zone and found tight end Charlie Woerner for a 34-yard gain. Chiefs safety Juan Thornill had Woerner in coverage, but he fell down, leaving Woerner wide open.

13, Gallman carried for 1-yard gain.

14, Lance rolled left and threw incomplete for wide receiver River Cracraft just as Chiefs defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton was hitting him.

15, On third and 9, Lance threw short left to Cracraft for a 7-yard gain.

With the 49ers still leading 9-7, Lance was back at quarterback on a drive that started at the 20-yard line with 4:12 remaining in the first half.

16, Sermon took a pitch from Lance and gained 1 yard.

17, Sermon gained 1 yard up the middle.

18, On third and 8, the 49ers had three wides on the field, and Lance threw to teh right sideline for Richie James, who dropped the pass while cornerback DeAndre Baker shoved his back. The play would have gone for a first down.


The 49ers’ offense got the ball back and afforded coach Kyle Shanahan a chance to give Lance some valuable snaps running a two-minute offense. The 49ers took over at their own 13 with 1:42 remaining in the half.

19, Lance took a five-step drop, looked left and threw high for James over the middle for an incomplete pass.

20, Lance threw quick to the right side to Jennings for a 12-yard gain. Again, it was ruled as a running attempt for Jennings, not a pass completion.

21, Lance threw into coverage, intended for Woener. Bakcer got his hands on the ball to break it up.

22, Lance took a snap in the shotgun and threw wide for Woerner for an incomplete pass.

23, On third and 10 from the 24, Lance took a shotgun snap tried to escape the pressure but was sacked by Chiefs defensive lineman Tim Ward, who beat Coleman for a 9-yard sack.

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Following a missed 62-yard field goal attempt, the 49ers took over at the Chiefs’ 48 with :37 remaining in the half.

24, Lance was stripped by Wharton, who got past Banks for an 8-yard sack.

25, Lance dumped of a short pass to Sermon for a 3-yard gain.

26, On third and 15 from the 49ers’ 47, Lance tried to drill a pass to Jennings but Rashad Fenton broke it up and nearly picked it up.

Shanahan said this week that Lance could open the second half if he did not reach the 30-snap target the team set for him. And that is what happened.

The 49ers took over at their 10-yard line on their first possession of the second half.

27, Lance threw wide on a pass intended for Travis Benjamin at the left sideline.

28, Sermon took a pitch and gained 5 yards.

29, On third and 5, Lance threw incomplete to Benjamin, who was covered tightly by Baker.

Josh Rosen took over at QB on the 49ers' ensuing possession.

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