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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers vs. Raiders grades: Quarterbacks

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 13, 2023 at 6:29 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers were ousted by the Las Vegas Raiders in brutal fashion, losing 34-7 in their first preseason bout during a game where nearly none of the starters played on either side of the ball.

San Francisco significantly struggled offensively, with their lone scoring play coming off a near interception, while the defense struggled to contain both quarterback Aidan O'Connell and the run game in a disappointing effort.

Here are the grades for the quarterbacks for the 49ers in their loss to the Raiders.

Trey Lance: D

If you only look at the box scores, you'd be surprised to hear Trey Lance earn a 'D' for his performance on Sunday, as the quarterback passed for 112 yards on 10/15 passing with a touchdown pass.

However, the real storyline was far different than what the statistics indicated.

Lance and the offense severely struggled to begin the game, as the quarterback was sacked three times on his first six dropbacks, with the 49ers going 3-and-out on each of their first three drives.

While the offensive line struggled to create a clean pocket for Lance, there were times when you wished he was more decisive, electing to throw some passes with anticipation, rather than double-clutching and holding onto the football.

Similar to how training camp practices went, Lance found a groove more as the day went along, hitting 8/11 passes for 103 yards and the touchdown the rest of the way, but still, there were flaws in that mix.

Lance had two turnover-worthy plays: a near interception in the endzone to cornerback Duke Shelley that bounced off the defender's hands into those of Ross Dwelley for a touchdown, and a near interception over the middle to a linebacker where the quarterback telegraphed the pass, leading to a good break by the defender.

Additionally, Lance did have some erratic misses: a throw wide in a tight window to Charlie Woerner on third down, and a miss high in the flat to Ross Dwelley.

Still, there was good in Lance's day; the quarterback had a pair of downfield completions: a dig to Chris Conley for 17 yards on 3rd & 15, as well as a 24-yard pass to the same wideout during a two-minute drill before the half.

Additionally, Lance was able to lead three sustained drives: a seven-play, 61-yard touchdown drive that was well-orchestrated until the final throw, even with the touchdown result, a seven-play, 25-yard drive that was stuffed on a failed fourth down run, and a five-play, 61-yard drive in 34 seconds to get Jake Moody a 40-yard field goal at the end of the half, which he missed.

Some of Lance's best stuff didn't even come on downfield plays; instead, the quarterback showcased the ability to avoid pressure at times, and made some nice dumpoffs on the run that helped propel drives.

Overall, it wasn't a pretty day for Lance, given the number of mistakes, especially early, but the sprinkle of positive plays saves his grade from an "F" to a "D".

Sam Darnold: C+

Sam Darnold had the better day of the two quarterbacks, although the bar was fairly low, playing the entire third quarter, as well as a small portion of the fourth quarter in Sunday's game.

Darnold finished 5/8 for 84 yards, with a beautiful 37-yard deep ball to Ronnie Bell serving as the highlight of the day.

Darnold benefitted from a mix of run and pass plays incorporated into his drives, as the 49ers compiled a nine-play, 59-yard drive on Darnold's first set of plays, although it resulted in zero points as the quarterback was stuffed on a sneak on 4th & 1, resulting in a loss of downs.

The quarterback had two completions of over 10 air yards, with both going in the direction of Bell, who had himself a solid day overall.

Darnold did have some inaccuracies, as well as a number of shorter passes, but didn't see too much action, as his second drive was thwarted by a Cameron Latu fumble on the first play, while his third drive was an eight-play, 30-yard series that resulted in a missed 58-yard field goal from Jake Moody.

Overall, it wasn't anything special from Darnold, but the quarterback exhibited a couple of nice throws, while working well from the pocket to move the ball on the drive, earning him a "C+" grade. Essentially average.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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