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49ers QB Trey Lance assesses his first extended NFL regular season action as ‘good and bad’

Oct 3, 2021 at 6:24 PM--

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The results were mixed for 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance after being unexpectedly called upon to play the entire second half during a 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Lance was inserted into the game to start the second half after it became apparent during halftime that starter Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't be able to take the field due to an assumed calf injury he sustained early in the game. Lance finished the game with 157 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-18 passing while rushing for 41 yards on seven carries, but was unable to dig the 49ers out of the hole they found themselves in after the Seahawks scored two quick touchdowns early in the second half.

The appearance marked the first extended action of the regular season for Lance, who had previously only seen the field in certain situations. Among the highlights for Lance were a 76-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Deebo Samuel that kept the 49ers in the game after the Seahawks opened a 21-7 lead, as well as a late-game scoring drive that cut the lead to 28-21. Lance told reporters after the game he was happy with some of the plays he made but also said there was plenty of room for improvement, which he intended to start in on later in the evening.

"I think there were plays good and bad throughout the half -- missed some big ones, missed some easy ones, missed some check downs," Lance said. "Just definitely a few plays that I want back, but I'm going to go back and watch it tonight and I think I'll learn a lot from that."

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan gave a similar assessment. Shanahan was pleased with what he saw from Lance in terms of running the ball and on certain passes but said there were also opportunities Lance missed.

"Some good, some bad... He got thrown in not expecting to get in," Shanahan said. "I thought he ran the ball well, hit some passes, obviously missed some passes, was in a tough situation there when we were down two scores, did a good job moving the chains a couple times with his legs, but it looked like a typical first game."

Shanahan appreciated Lance's response to the situation, which required the 49ers to make adjustments on the fly after constructing the game plan around Garoppolo. But Shanahan also says Lance still has much to learn and hopes Sunday's action will serve as a step in the right direction.

"He went in there unexpected and he competed," Shanahan said. "Trey's a football player. You guys can see that at times throughout that game. Regardless of what's happening he's always got a chance to make a play. That's what I think he did. It was good for him to take us down on that scoring drive at the end. But it takes some time to play in this league, as you guys have seen throughout. It's about knowing where to get rid of the ball, when to try to make those plays, when to check it down, have other guys do it for you, when to hang in the pocket, when to escape the pocket, and he got a lot of real NFL game experience on that today. Hopefully he'll get better from it."

Garoppolo didn't sound too optimistic about his chances of suiting up for next Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, telling reporters after the loss to the Seahawks that he hoped the injury would only keep him out a couple of weeks. Lance says he'll be ready if he gets the nod next week and is eagerly anticipating the chance to get into preparation mode regardless of whether or not he starts.

"I'm definitely excited. I'm excited to learn -- like I said, learn as much as I can from this one and turn the page after these 24 hours and get started on Arizona," Lance said.

In the meantime, Lance will be rooting for Garoppolo to heal up in a hurry. Garoppolo's injury could mean further extended playing time for Lance, but his health carries importance for both the 49ers and for Lance individually.

"(I) hope he can be back as soon as possible because he does a lot for me personally on and off the field and as a team," Lance said.

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