The San Francisco 49ers opened their 2023 preseason with a thud, losing 34-7 to the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Here is what stood out from the game.
Lance started out rough, holding the ball a couple of times on the opening possession and taking sacks instead of letting the ball go to open receivers.
On the second possession he was off the mark to Charlie Woerner on third and short. Lance was pressured on the play, but it looked as though the throw was there to be made.
The struggles continued into the third possession as Lance didn’t turn the ball loose off play action despite having his receiver open over the middle. Instead, he chose to throw the checkdown to Ross Dwelley and the pass sailed high.
Lance looked much more decisive on his fourth possession. After a couple of short completions Lance showed off his mobility by evading the rush before finding Willie Snead for a gain of 12. Now in the redzone, Lance nearly turned the ball over when his throw to Chris Conley hit a Raiders defender in the hands. Fortunately for the quarterback the ball ricocheted off the defender and into the hands of Ross Dwelley for a touchdown.
A sack opened Lance’s fifth possession. Working off play action, Lance couldn’t find an open receiver. He bounced back with a short completion while on the move to avoid the rush before hitting Chris Conley over the middle for a gain of 17.
Lance got an opportunity to run a two-minute drill to end the half. On first down his throw to Willie Snead over the middle was nearly intercepted by Raiders linebacker Amari Burney. Given a second chance, Lance took advantage by hitting Chris Conley down the left seam on the next play for a gain of 25. Lance connected with Troy Fumagalli for a gain of 22 on the next play to get the offense into field goal position.
Lance finished 10-15 for 112 yards and one touchdown.
There is plenty of room for improvement for Lance, but it was good to see the way he bounced back from a tough start to make some nice plays and move the offense.
The veteran quarterback took over in the second half, playing just three possessions.
Darnold quickly found success, hitting Ronnie Bell deep down the right sideline for gain of 37. He followed that up with a seven-yard completion to undrafted rookie free agent Isaiah Winstead and a 15-yard connection on a deep out to Tay Martin.
On the opening play of the next possession Darnold hit rookie Cameron Latu with a short throw while rolling to his left. The tight end juggled the pass before bringing it in and fumbled it away when hit.
Darnold’s third and final possession wasn’t good. He threw incomplete late off play action when he missed Ronnie Bell in the open window. The two connected for 16 yards on a throw up the right seam on the next play. Following a throw away, Darnold had Bell open on a deep in to beat a Raiders blitz, but the throw sailed high for an incompletion.
With just 18 snaps it seems we will see more of Darnold next Saturday when the 49ers take on the Denver Broncos. He threw just eight passes against the Raiders, completing five for 84 yards.
The 49ers fourth string quarterback replaced Darnold for the fourth quarter and completed five of eight attempts for 36 yards with an interception.
Allen’s performance was better than the numbers suggest. The interception came on a strike over the middle that Ronnie Bell let slip through his hands. He also should’ve had another completion, but Tay Martin couldn’t get a second foot down before going out of bounds.
A third-round selection, the tight end has struggled with drops throughout training camp. In the third quarter he caught his only target of the game but fumbled it away when hit.
There are things to like about Latu, blocking and route running, but if he can’t hold on to the ball there’s no way he should make this roster.
The 49ers raised some eyebrows when they selected a kicker at 99 overall in the draft. Moody didn’t make a good first impression, missing wide left from 40 yards out before halftime. He got a chance from 58 yards in the second half and missed wide right, it wasn’t even close.
He’s giving off some serious Doug Brien vibes right now.
The 49ers added the former Raiders defensive end during free agency. His sack of Aidan O’Connell effectively ended the Raiders second possession.
Ferrell is solid against the run and could be a big addition for San Francisco if he can provide a pass rush presence off the bench.
The seventh-round draft pick out of Michigan had an interesting day. On the positive side he made three solid catches for 58 yards including a long of 37 and picked up 15 yards on a run around the right side. On the negative side he dropped a perfect pass from Brandon Allen resulting in an interception.
Bell got the first opportunity to return kickoffs and punts. He picked up 24 yards on his first kickoff return but was held to just 16 on his second and 17 on this third.
Jon Feliciano started at center, but it wasn’t until he was replace by Ismael that the pass protection improved. A three year pro out of San Diego State, Ismael was solid in pass protection. His challenge is moving defenders off the line of scrimmage in the run game. He was at center when Jordan Mason was stuffed on fourth and two in the first half and when the 49ers gained zero yards on three rushing attempts in the second half with Sam Darnold at quarterback.
The 49ers new nickelback was beaten badly while allowing a touchdown from O’Connell to Keelan Cole.
Mason averaged 3.4 yards per rushing attempt, best among 49ers running backs, but dropped a screen from Trey Lance.
Womack was beat deep by Tre Tucker but the receiver was unable to hang on. On the positive side he stepped up to drop a Raiders running back for no gain on third and one in the second quarter.
Thomas followed up Womack’s run stop with one of his own, dropping the back for a loss on fourth and one. The third-year cornerback showed some tight coverage down the field as well.
The second-year linebacker finished with six tackles and had one of the best hits of the game when he dropped Ameer Abdullah on a screen in the first half.
The rookie draft pick tied with McCrary-Ball for a team high six tackles. The backer was all over the field, making plays against the run and pass. He did make one mistake when he was called for unnecessary roughness after striking a Raiders receiver in the head.
Kevin Givens and Javon Kinlaw
The 49ers defensive tackles were blown off the ball repeatedly early in the game resulting in big runs up the middle. Not only did this create running lanes up the middle, but it made it so the linebackers had too much traffic in front of them to make a stop.