Trey Lance Shines Despite 49ers' Loss to Chiefs in NFL Preseason Debut

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 15, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the host San Francisco 49ers 19-16 on Saturday at Levi's Stadium in the opening preseason game for both teams.

San Francisco quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, completed five of 14 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. The score was an 80-yard pass to Trent Sherfield in the first quarter.

Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne found Byron Pringle for a five-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. The Lance touchdown followed before San Francisco got a field goal for the 9-7 halftime lead.

However, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker made field goals of 52 and 46 yards in the second half to put Kansas City up 13-9.

Undeterred, the 49ers countered the latter field goal with a four-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a JaMycal Hasty four-yard touchdown. Following the extra point, San Francisco led 16-13.

Kansas City stormed back with a nine-play, 68-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a one-yard touchdown run from Shane Buechele with 1:14 left.

The 49ers got the ball back with the chance to tie or take the lead but were unable to cross midfield.

Notable Performances

49ers QB Trey Lance: 5-of-14, 128 passing yards, 1 TD

49ers RB JaMycal Hasty: 10 carries, 63 rushing yards, 1 TD

49ers WR Trent Sherfield: 1 catch, 80 receiving yards, 1 TD

Chiefs QB Shane Buechele: 8-of-11, 76 passing yards; 3 carries, 13 rushing yards, 1 TD

Chiefs WR Byron Pringle: 2 catches, 10 receiving yards, 1 TD

Chiefs WR Daurice Fountain: 4 catches, 38 receiving yards

Lance Shines in Debut

The final stat line for Lance isn't spectacular, but his one big play is the talking point from his professional debut.

The rookie out of North Dakota State astutely found Sherfield down the field for an 80-yard touchdown en route to the highlight of the night:

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

TREY AREAAAA❗️<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsSF</a><br>📱49ers app<br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/KPIXtv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KPIXtv</a> <a href="https://t.co/nS8XnlGLQC">pic.twitter.com/nS8XnlGLQC</a>

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

rare preseason dots from <a href="https://twitter.com/NextGenStats?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NextGenStats</a> for the Trey Lance TD <a href="https://t.co/t8lRXTj3qi">pic.twitter.com/t8lRXTj3qi</a>

As Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle noted, the pass traveled about 43 air yards.

The rookie also got the 49ers out of a bad spot with their backs to their own end zone when he found Charlie Woerner for a 34-yard completion:

San Francisco 49ers @49ers

Slingin' it 💪<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KCvsSF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KCvsSF</a><br>📱49ers app<br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/KPIXtv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KPIXtv</a> <a href="https://t.co/FYN81bIZaP">pic.twitter.com/FYN81bIZaP</a>

Lance may have ended the night just 5-of-14, but his completion rate could have also been better if not for some drops.

Chris Biderman @ChrisBiderman

Trey Lance began 4-7, with three drops from his receivers, and has completed 1-7 since. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a>

After the game, Lance got rave reviews from his teammates, including Sherfield:

Jake Hutchinson @hutchdiesel

Trent Sherfield on Trey Lance:<br><br>"He's a young phenom. He's going to be really, really good in this league."

It's only one preseason game, but Lance left a strong positive impression in limited action.


Chiefs Defense Pulls Through in End

On a night when many Chiefs starters did not play, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, it was up to the backups and third-stringers to get the job done in their preseason opener.

They did just that en route to a hard-fought 19-16 win.

The defense largely excelled outside the Lance-Sherfield 80-yard touchdown and the 49ers' final scoring drive, which ended with a Hasty score.

Defensive end Tim Ward led the way with five tackles (four solo) and two sacks. Nate Taylor of The Athletic credited him with an excellent speed rush to land one sack on Lance:

Nate Taylor @ByNateTaylor

Tim Ward, who was beating Orlando Brown Jr. (who was working on certain techniques) in the 1-on-1 drill, just had a hell of a speed rush off the edge to sack Trey Lance.

Seth Keysor of The Athletic also shouted him out:

Seth Keysor @RealMNchiefsfan

Tim Ward with a strong ending to a game where he showed up quite a bit.

Ward also, in essence, put this game to bed after his sack of 49ers quarterback Josh Rosen in the final seconds. San Francisco tried to spike the ball in response, but the team was called for an illegal shift, and the game ended.

Elsewhere, linebacker Omari Cobb came through on a blitz for a sack:

Nate Taylor @ByNateTaylor

Omari Cobb flashes with a nice blitz for a sack.

Cornerback Rashad Fenton had two pass breakups, including one interception:

Matt Derrick @mattderrick

Rashad Fenton with the near interception. Chiefs have a lot of faith in Fenton. He's in a battle with Mike Hughes for that No. 3 corner spot and is the likely backup to L'Jarius Sneed as the slot corner.

Defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton also nearly caused a lost fumble after sacking Lance:

Jennifer Lee Chan @jenniferleechan

Lance loses the ball after Tershawn Wharton got his hands on Lance’s throwing arm. The rookie recovered the ball.

Overall, it was an impressive night for the Chiefs' defensive backups, and they'll look to build off that momentum for their next preseason battle.

What's Next?

The 49ers will visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Aug. 22, in SoFi Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET for their second preseason matchup.

The Chiefs' second preseason game will occur on Friday at the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale's State Farm Stadium at 8 p.m.