49ers rookie recap: 3 players who impressed most in preseason Week 2

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers rookie class impressed in the team’s 15-10 defeat of the Chargers in Week 2 of the preseason. Which three stood out the most?

Week 2 of the 2021 preseason is in the books, and the San Francisco 49ers rookie class continued to show out in the Niners’ 15-10 defeat of the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.

With offensive guard Aaron Banks and running back Elijah Mitchell sidelined, six other rookies were on display Sunday night.

While all the rookies showed why they are locks for the final 53-man roster, there were three players that stood out the most.

No. 1: 49ers Quarterback Trey Lance

Quarterback Trey Lance had a shaky start to his first several drives, most notably missing behind wide receiver Deebo Samuel on a crossing route and double-clutching on a stack route from Mohamed Sanu, leading to his first interception of the preseason.

But even on those throws, Lance showed savvy pre-snap awareness and made the correct reads. While the pass to Deebo hit him in the hands, Lance has to be able to put the ball on his numbers when he has time to set his feet in a clean pocket. On the interception, Lance clearly identified his read quickly but didn’t immediately trust what he saw, resulting in a double-clutch, thus leading him to put even more zip on his already flaming fastball.

The result was him throwing a high but catchable ball to Sanu, which went through his hands.

However, Lance rebounded with a bang, showing off some of his most impressive traits: confidence, poise and the commitment to learn from mistakes quickly. Head coach Kyle Shanahan could’ve called a timeout and left Lance with one to work with on a two-minute drill before the half. Instead, Shanahan let the clock run out, affording Lance only 57 seconds and two timeouts to make magic.

And magic Lance made.

After converting a first down and with 28 seconds left on the clock, Lance baited the high safety to think he was looking to the middle, knowing wide receiver Trent Sherfield would find a soft hole in the zone on the far right hash. Using his eyes to freeze the safety, Lance did not double-clutch this time, firing a perfect touch pass, allowing Sherfield to catch the ball cleanly and extend the play for 23 yards after the catch.

If Lance would’ve led him farther, it would’ve been a hospital ball and a huge hit on Sherfield. More impressive, is that despite the clean pocket and great pass protection, Lance didn’t hold the ball long, and released it within 1.5 seconds of receiving the snap.

On the next play, the Niners gained 8 yards, setting up 2nd-and-short, but they had to burn their final timeout. With 15 seconds left, Lance again decisively got the ball out immediately, finding Sanu out of a 5-wide set with a rope into the end zone.

Forty-five seconds is all it took for Lance to redeem himself. On the very next play, Lance showed what he could do with his legs after smartly bailing on the pass, and converting what would’ve been two points if not for a highly questionable holding call.

After the half, Lance was right back at it, driving the 49ers 63 yards on eleven plays, culminating in an absolutely magnificent 16-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Travis Benjamin on third down. Lance again expertly used his eyes to look off the linebacker, set his feet and got the ball off immediately into a closing window to Benjamin for six points.

When asked after the game how he was able to rebound, Lance said:

"If I throw Mo a better ball, he probably scores on that play on his birthday.  I was frustrated for sure, but at the same time, I learned so much from each of those drives that it was easy to turn the page. I think I was just confident from that point on as I went throughout the game."

While Lance started off with some hiccups, he continued to show why the 49ers mortgaged their first-round picks until 2024 for his services. As the preseason progresses, while Shanahan has dismissed there being a “competition” between Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance is more and more looking the part as the 49ers franchise starting quarterback.