Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Trey Lance says he didn’t take as many hits as it seemed against Cardinals

Oct 10, 2021 at 7:33 PM--

On the surface, it may seem like 49ers quarterback Trey Lance took a bit too much punishment in his first NFL start, having carried the ball 16 times while being on the other end of two sacks and seven quarterback hits. But thankfully, Lance got out of the game unscathed and assured reporters afterwards the hits he took weren't as bad as they looked.

Lance spoke to reporters following the 49ers' 17-10 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, during which he ran for 89 yards while also throwing for 192 yards and one interception on 15-of-29 passing. He downplayed any concerns about the amount of hits he took, saying that most of them didn't exactly leave him in pain.

"I didn't really think I took too many shots. I'm sure I'll see how I feel tomorrow. A lot of them were just pushing me down after throws and stuff like that," Lance said.

There was one play in particular where Lance took the type of hit the 49ers would probably prefer their quarterback of the future to avoid. It came during a 4th down play at the goal line when Lance lowered his head to try to get into the end zone and was stopped short by two Cardinals defenders.

Lance admitted he took a good hit during the play in question but said there wasn't much else to worry about throughout the rest of the game.

"Honestly, that goal line was really the only collision, I would say," Lance said. "It might look a lot worse than it is, but when I'm getting down and guys are kind of just falling on top of me, it's not like they can really hit me. So that was really the only situation. Guys coming from the side and everything like that really isn't hits on your body."

There was one other play in particular where one could argue Lance was trying to do too much. Lance's helmet came off during the play and he was being grabbed by the leg by a Cardinals defender, but he kept fighting for extra yardage. Lance was asked after the game if he felt that extra effort was a good decision.

"I'm just trying to move the chains, for sure," Lance said.

Lance's teammates were impressed with his efforts on Sunday, even if a couple of them said they'd like to see him slide instead of take on tacklers. Defensive end Nick Bosa said Lance "might need to work on his juke move" a bit, while safety Jimmie Ward also voiced a desire to see Lance slide while also applauding his drive to make an impact.

"Yeah, but at the end of the day, he's young," Ward said. "I feel like he did a great job. He walked out of there healthy, so I'm happy. At the end of the day, he's going to make plays. Maybe he might put his body on the line, but that shows you how passionate he is about football."

Sunday's game will serve as a valuable learning experience for Lance in a number of ways, with punishment avoidance being one of them. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan seemed mostly satisfied with how Lance did in that area, although there will likely be a teaching moment or two to come from the game film.

"You've always got to protect yourself as a quarterback. Sometimes it's easier than others," Shanahan said. "I think he'll get better with that as he goes. I saw him do it a few times -- whether it's a slide or not, it's just trying to get down and not get hit by pursuit. But that stuff, you never just watch a play and ignore that. You talk about all the ways he can protect himself, what the situations are. I thought he did a decent job today, but that stuff he'll get better at with experience."

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