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San Francisco 49ers’ Trey Lance opens era with 76-yard TD pass

Vincent Frank

A lot has been made about young San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance as he takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback.

Still only 22 years old, reviews have been mixed from 49ers training camp in Santa Clara this summer. Some believe that the former No. 3 pick will add a new dimension to the 49ers’ offense as they second-year quarterback takes over as their starter. Others opine that he’s too raw to start for a Super Bowl contender.

At least initially, those in the former category have been proven correct. Early in Friday’s preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers, Lance showed off his otherworldly arm talent. That included a 76-yard touchdown strike to rookie third-round pick Danny Gray.

Talk about an absolutely perfect pass from Lance. The ball traveled 42 yards in the air with the speedy Gray doing his thing to get into the end zone for a 10-7 49ers lead.

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Trey Lance
Jul 28, 2022; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility near Levi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

What’s most impressive about this specific pass is the pocket awareness that Lance displayed. He was facing pressure from both out on the edge and inside. He did not panic, hitting Gray in stride for the touchdown.

Sure this is a meaningless preseason game. But there’s a reason why the 49ers are playing Lance in the opener. They want to see him in a zone heading into Week 1 against the Chicago Bears after the North Dakota State product saw limited action as a rookie.

There’s no QB competition in Santa Clara this summer. While Garoppolo remains on the roster, he’ll either be traded or released ahead of Week 1.

Boasting a Super Bowl-caliber roster, the 49ers need Lance to play well and limit his mistakes. With that said, he already brings something different to the table and could lead a dynamic offense in 2022.

“I wasn’t with him [Josh Allen] last year, but that second year is kind of the difference. I think for, most NFL players, the first and second [year is a big difference], especially for me it was. Just watching Trey every day grow as a leader, be able to take control of not even just the huddle [but] the offense as a whole when we’re going through walkthroughs, and making sure everybody where they need to be at a certain time. It’s great watching him practice.”

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At least for one quarter, Lance is showing us why the 49ers are exited about the young quarterback heading into his sophomore season. He finished Friday’s action having completed 4-of-5 passes for 92 yards en route to leading San Francisco to two scores on as many drives.