Trey Lance shines: 49ers beat Green Bay in preseason opener

Santa Clara — The San Francisco 49ers opened their 2022 preseason by defeating the Green Bay Packers 28-21 at Levi’s Stadium. Here is what stood out from the game.

Trey Lance

The performance from Lance in his two series of action was everything you want to see from your starting quarterback. 

Lance showed poise in the pocket, used his legs when necessary, and was on the money with his throws. 

The 49ers new signal-caller completed four of five pass attempts for 92 yards, one touchdown, and had one run for seven yards. 

The highlight of Lance’s night came when he hit Danny Gray down the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown strike. He put the ball right on the money so the receiver didn’t need to break stride, and Gray did the rest, outrunning the Packers defense to the endzone.

The only hiccup in Lance’s performance came on his lone incompletion. Lance has struggled to hit the deep out throughout training camp, and he missed wide to Gray along the right sideline to end the first 49ers possession. 

Danny Gray

The 49ers chose the SMU product to add speed outside. Expectation met reality on their second possession of the game when Gray got behind the Packers defense, Lance put the ball out in front of him, and Gray did the rest for a long touchdown that electrified the Levi’s Stadium crowd. 

Gray wasn’t done there. On the 49ers final possession of the first half, he caught a pass from Nate Sudfeld over the middle to convert on 3rd and 13. 

Samuel Womack

Womack has been solid in coverage throughout training camp, which carried over to the game. The rookie fifth-round draft pick came away with two interceptions in the first half. 

The first interception came when Womack snatched the ball away from Romeo Doubs as the two went to the ground. 

A few series later, Womack stepped in front of a pass over the middle intended for Amari Rodgers and took it the 57 yards the other way to set up a 49ers score. 

Womack has proven himself to be a fast learner. After the game, he stated the second interception came on a play he’s seen over and over on the practice field, and he was ready for it.

Marcelino McCrary-Ball

The undrafted rookie free agent flies around the field. The aggressiveness paid off tonight when he was in position to get his hands on a pass that bounced off a Green Bay receiver and took it 57 yards the other way to end the first quarter. 

Nate Sudfeld

Sudfeld wasted little time taking advantage of the excellent field position provided by the McCrary-Ball interception. On the next play, Sudfeld connected with Ray-Ray McCloud on a deep post for a 39-yard touchdown strike. 

The career backup has been efficient throughout training camp, and tonight was no different. Sudfeld finished 8-11 for 103 yards and the touchdown to McCloud.

Ray-Ray McCloud

Primarily utilized underneath during his time in Pittsburgh, McCloud has demonstrated the ability to make plays at all levels of the field since joining the 49ers. 

Highlighted by the 39-yard touchdown strike, McCloud finished his night by catching all four passes that came his way for 63 yards. 

McCloud’s night wasn’t perfect. Fumbles have been an issue in the past for McCloud. After catching a pass over the middle from Sudfeld, the veteran wideout put the ball on the ground resulting in the 49ers lone turnover. 

Interior offensive line

Jake Brendel made the start at center and was flanked by Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford.

While Brendel and Banks held up well in pass protection, Burford seemed to struggle. Burford was beaten on multiple occasions, forcing the quarterback to move. Trey Lance was able to get away to pick up seven yards on a scramble. However, Nate Sudfeld was not so lucky as he was dropped for a sack while trying to move to his left. 

Burford was the only starting offensive lineman to play into the second half. 

Mike McGlinchey

McGlinchey returned to the field for the first time since a quad tendon tear ended his 2021 season. He looked a bit rusty; however, that’s to be expected after an extended layoff. That he was able to get on the field was a testament to the hard work he put in this offseason and the plan the 49ers strength and conditioning put together.

Javon Kinlaw

Like McGlinchey, Kinlaw returned after surgery to reconstruct his knee, which sidelined him in 2021. A healthy Javon Kinlaw will go a long way toward replacing D.J. Jones in the middle of the 49ers defensive line.

Tarvarius Moore

Making his first appearance since 2020, Moore was beaten by rookie Romeo Doubs for a 33-yard touchdown. Doubs ran a go route from the slot, and Moore could not keep up with him. The burst Moore had before his injury does not look to be there right now. 

Ty Davis-Price

Davis-Price is expected to be a physical runner. He spent too much time dancing in the backfield tonight instead of hitting the holes and getting downfield. 

On a couple of plays in which he hit the line of scrimmage hard, the rookie went for gains of 10 and nine yards. We need to see more of that as training camp unfolds.

JaMycal Hasty

While Davis-Price danced, the smaller Hasty hit the line of scrimmage with abandon. Hasty attacked the defense repeatedly, running mainly between the tackles to pick up 36 yards on five carries.

Jordan Mason

The undrafted rookie free agent looks like the prototypical Kyle Shanahan running back. Everything he does is moving forward. Mason didn’t get into the game until the fourth quarter, but his six carries for 30 yards were impressive. He should get more touches next week in Minnesota.

Trey Sermon

Sermon finished with only 11 yards on six carries, but it wasn’t all on him. Several missed blocks led to negative yardage for the second year back. Let’s face it; it’s hard to run when the defender blows your tackle into the backfield. 

Ambry Thomas

Thomas has struggled throughout training camp and cannot catch a break. The one time he had solid coverage and got his hand on the pass, the receiver could continue tracking the ball and come down with the catch. 

Ka’dar Hollman

Starting opposite Thomas, Hollman made a nice break on the ball to knock away a pass from Jordan Love on a deep out to the right side. 

Unfortunately, Love would target Hollman again a short while later. This time the journeyman corner could not track the ball, allowing a 33 touchdown to Danny Davis.

This article has 16 Comments

  1. Great write-up Jack. This paragraph in particular is excellent writing:

    “The 49ers chose the SMU product to add speed outside. Expectation met reality on their second possession of the game when Gray got behind the Packers defense, Lance put the ball out in front of him, and Gray did the rest for a long touchdown that electrified the Levi’s Stadium crowd.”

  2. Just haven’t been impressed with the McCloud signing. Having watched him in Pittsburgh you hold your breath every time he has the ball in his hands. Because the next moment, that ball will be out of his hands.

    I’d rather have a safe low yardage guy on special teams than a guy who keeps putting the rock on the ground.

    If Pittsburgh’s talented coaching staff couldn’t fix his discipline issues, not sure the 49ers can.

    On another front there has been talk of a Jimmy G trade to the Jets given Zach Wilson’s freak injury yesterday. I’m not buying it- their backup did a pretty tremendous job last season when Wilson was out with a PCL, which could be the same injury this time around. They do have cap space, and could probably rework a deal or two to do it, but not sure it makes sense given the team isn’t going anywhere right now. If they do it it’s because they’re a young team that need’s to learn what winning feels like, similar to what Jimmy brought to the 49ers a few seasons ago.

    On the other hand a Jimmy trade could be quite the crowd pleaser among his guido bros. along Jersey shores. 😃

    1. “backup did a pretty tremendous”

      Jets backup is Flaaco this year. Anyways, moot point since the injury is relatively minor.

  3. The Packers sat 33 players, including most of the starting defense. Lance played against the B-team and scored once.

      1. He had his starting offensive line without Williams. Which plays did you see where Dwelley did worse than Kittle, Grey did worse than Aiyuk, or McCloud worse than Deebo? I can’t recall any plays.

        The packers have a mean defense…

        Rashan Geary
        Kenny Clark
        Preston Smith
        Jarran Reed
        Quay Walker & Divondre Campbell
        Jaire Alexander
        Adrian Amos & Darnell Savage

        1. Kittle is a matchup nightmare in coverage – more so than Dwelley. Deebo and Aiyuk are also a handful. The 2nd or 3rd stinger covering Day would have been the CB covering him in a regular season game. Deebo and Aiyuk will be covered by opposing 1 and 2 corners. The original comment implied that Lance’s success was because their D was not the first sting. The reality is that if our starting O would have been out there it would have mitigated any perceived advantage

    1. He actually was going against B and C players. I agree that I think the outcomes will be different when Lance is playing against starting NFL players, some being elite. However you can’t mitigate what he did and you can see Lance is very capable of making the big plays.

  4. Danny Gray’s stride reminds me a lot of John Taylor. Those long legs and craned back head while running full speed conjures up memories of 90+ yard TD runs by Taylor against the Rams. It’s almost as if his upper body is trying to stay with his legs.

  5. Jack,
    A couple of questions
    #1 I thought that a 292 lbs J. Kinlaw got pushed around quite a bit. Did you see the same thing?
    #2 Would your opinion of Ty Davis-Price’s performance change if you judged him on his 2nd half performance alone? I thought he was much better in the 2nd half?
    #3 Regarding McClouds fumble, I thought that part of the reason he fumbled was a stiff helmet to helmet hit by the Packers. Did you see that also?
    #4 I thought DT Robert N… performance was outstanding, what was your opinion of his performance?

  6. Thanks Jack,
    Trey looked good last night. There’s definite room for growth but this will happen with each game. I really don’t expect to see a big trajectory for Lance until mid season, and that’s fine because the defense will hold the line in the meantime.

    I recently wrote that Sammy Womack looked like a keeper and he likely solidified himself on the roster after last night’s performance. The Packers rookie WR Romeo Doubs was looking to have an MVP type game until Womack came in.
    Many 49ers players did well last night, but I felt that Sammy was the most impressive.
    Let’s see if this carries over against Minnesota.

  7. Great individual assessments. Much better than Cohn’s yelling and distractions. I like that Jack sticks to objective assessment and avoids drama and distraction.

  8. Agree with Jack that T. Moore has not recovered his chief asset which was speed. Niners need to find a better starting safety. They are vulnerable at that spot. Purdy looked good for having limited coaching from Kyle. He moves well and is mainly accurate. I hope we see lots of him in the remaining games. We know what we have in Sudfeld. Skule gets cut. He has really declined and he was below average at his best.

  9. It’s preseason…the Packers, just like the 9ers, sat most of their starters…that being the case, I’m not gonna get overly excited about Lance’s performance, because in training camp sessions, he works against one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the league…

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