Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


14 rollercoaster observations from the 49ers loss in Arizona

Oct 11, 2021 at 11:26 AM--


Rookie quarterback Trey Lance made his starting debut on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He played well, but as expected, it was a bit of a rollercoaster. There were ups and downs, just as there are when any rookie quarterback makes his first start. Last week, when Lance played the second half against the Seahawks, head coach Kyle Shanahan said there was some 'good' and some 'bad'. After his first start, Lance said the same thing about his performance on Sunday. Some good, some bad. A rollercoaster.

The 49ers lost the game by a score of 17-10. The team, as a whole, had an up and down game. Here are my 14 rollercoaster observations from Sunday's game:

  • I remember hearing how Shanahan was excitedly writing up plays for Lance in the off-season (on the plane ride home, after attending Justin Fields' pro day). Where are those plays? If Shanahan was truly drooling over the prospect of using Lance, have we seen those plays yet? Is the rookie not ready to run them? Or is the coach not ready to run them? Have they even installed those plays? Were there any drool-worthy plays to begin with? It just seems like the 49ers offensive play-calling is lacking creativity. I'm looking forward to seeing those plays.

  • Lance lacks some accuracy in his passes. He tends to overthrow receivers. Hopefully that will improve.

  • I didn't like that Lance ran so much. It doesn't seem like a good idea to have your franchise quarterback taking so many hits. There were a lot of plays that involved him running up the gut. The 49ers are fortunate Lance didn't get hurt on that goal-line stand.

  • It's pretty pathetic when the veteran players can't help out their rookie quarterback in his first start. I'm over wide receivers dropping passes. Lance had receivers drop three big passes in the first half alone. At least one former 49ers great agrees…


  • Another game. Another sack for Nick Bosa. This team is fortunate to have him.


  • Speaking of McGlinchey- he was terrible in this game. His play in the third quarter alone may have cost San Francisco the game.

  • The theme of this game: instead of helping their rookie quarterback, the veterans on offense actually made his job more difficult. I can't put into words how disappointed I am with Lance's offensive teammates. The 49ers had multiple opportunities to win this game for Lance. They had several drives go into Cardinals territory. And yet, most of those drives were cut short by some kind of penalty or dropped pass or other mistake by a veteran. We expect the rookie to may those mistakes. But not the veterans.

  • The 49ers defense was really good. They did their part, holding the league's top offense in check. The Cardinals averaged 35 points per game coming into Sunday. The defense held them to 17. And the last touchdown came courtesy of a turnover on downs at midfield. Speaking of which…

  • The decision by Shanahan to go for it on 4th & 4 at midfield was a bad one. I agreed with the other decisions to go for it on 4th down, but not this one. It probably cost them the game.

  • As I mentioned above, I loved Shanahan's aggressiveness to go for it on 4th down as often as he did. He's not normally that aggressive. But I did not like most of the plays he called on those downs. They were predictable and lacked creativity.

  • How does a quarterback as big as Lance have so many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage? I assume it's a rookie thing, like not making decisions quick enough. This should improve. That said, Lance delivered some really nice passes on Sunday, especially the one on the sideline to Brandon Aiyuk.

  • The 49ers had 338 total yards on offense. Trey Lance was responsible for 281 of them. That's impressive, but it's not sustainable. The rest of the offense has to pick up the slack.

At least we know the 49ers won't lose next week. San Francisco has a bye. Then again, with the luck this team has...
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