Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Packers: QB Trey Lance, WR Danny Gray recap explosive touchdown pass

Aug 12, 2022 at 10:33 PM--

There were a number of highlights for the San Francisco 49ers in their 28-21 preseason win over the Green Bay Packers on Friday night, but perhaps the most memorable one took place on quarterback Trey Lance's final play of the game.

With the 49ers down 7-3 in the first quarter, Lance was facing a 3rd-and-9 from his own 24-yard line in what was going to be his final possession before being pulled in favor of backup Nate Sudfeld. But Lance made sure he went out in style by connecting with rookie wide receiver Danny Gray for a 76-yard touchdown.

Gray blew by safety Dallin Leavitt on the play, and Lance found him open on the left sidelines just past midfield. Gray did the rest from there, turning on his speed to get to the end zone.

After the game, Lance gave a simple analysis of what happened on the play -- he saw his fastest receiver get open and made sure he got him the ball.

"Throw it to the fast guy," Lance said. "Danny did a great job. He's done a great job all camp. Just him being healthy, obviously he's a difference maker for us on offense. His speed is something I've had maybe one other time in my life. So for me, it's a fun guy to have -- a fun guy for the receiver room to have also. Just help the route tree out and make defenses defend the whole field."

Gray had a feeling the ball was coming his way when he saw how the Packers lined up on defense. Once he sensed his opportunity, he made sure to make the most of it.

"I had a feeling Trey was going to throw it down the field to me," Gray said. "So it was really just beating my defender. That's what it was. When I saw the safety roll down on top of me, oh yeah, I knew what it was."

From there, Lance did Gray a favor. Given that it was Gray's first touchdown, Lance wanted to make sure he didn't do anything he'd regret with the ball. So he ran downfield and made sure Gray kept the ball, remembering that tight end George Kittle did the same for him last year.

"I was just fired up for Danny," Lance said. "I was trying to catch him and make sure he didn't punt the ball into the crowd or anything. I wanted to make sure he got that first touchdown ball. George did it for me last year. So I know it's a special one to have."

Gray was indeed tempted to send the ball flying into the crowd, but he thought better of it just in time.

"I wanted to throw it in the stands, but I was just like, 'We're going to be humble because there's many more to come.' I was just being humble and thanking God for the moment," Gray said.

The touchdown was a product of the practice reps Lance and Gray have been working on together throughout training camp. Gray was injured during Phase 3 of offseason workouts, which prevented Lance from getting any practice reps with him until camp. The two of them have gained ground quickly, however, and have established a rapport that should continue to grow throughout the season.

"Training camp was the first time I got live reps with him," Lance said. "But he's done a great job in the meeting rooms, a great job learning from the guys ahead of him also."

Gray agrees that he and Lance have connected well since the start of camp and has high hopes for what the two of them will do in the future.

"It's very good. Very good," Gray said. "Me and Trey, we get to work after practice. We throw the deep balls, we throw the ones we miss. I feel like everything's coming together and we're going to be very special."

How often will Gray and Lance get the chance to connect during the regular season? It's tough to say, considering that Lance's top three targets (Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel) will be available once the games count after sitting out Friday night. But whenever Gray gets the chance, expect him to be confident in his ability to do the exact same thing he did with his first NFL preseason touchdown.

"I go into every game and just be me -- just go be DG," Gray said. "That's me. Every game I have confidence in myself that I'm going to win. That's it. I'm just a person who loves the game. I love the game of football. I've been playing this game my whole life. Every opportunity that I get, I take advantage of it."

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