Trey Lance Overcomes Slow Start, Throws 2 TDs in 49ers' Preseason Win over Chargers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) reaches the end zone on a a failed two-point conversion attempt during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The San Francisco 49ers are on the board in the 2021 NFL preseason.

San Francisco bounced back from a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with a 15-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Sunday's preseason game at SoFi Stadium. Trey Lance led the way for the victors by taking over in the second quarter and throwing two touchdown passes.

Los Angeles dropped to 1-1 in the preseason despite a solid showing from Easton Stick.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Trey Lance makes it look EASY with his second touchdown pass of the night 🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/brgridiron?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@brgridiron</a><br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/WpTm5u8TzJ">pic.twitter.com/WpTm5u8TzJ</a>

Trey Lance Outplays Jimmy Garoppolo

The biggest storyline for every 49ers preseason game is the quarterback battle between solid-but-unspectacular veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and Lance, the likely franchise signal-caller of the future.

Lance, who San Francisco selected with the No. 3 pick of the 2021 NFL draft, was inconsistent in the first preseason game at 5-of-14 passing for 128 yards and one touchdown while being sacked four times.

Sunday was an opportunity to improve on that showing, but it was Garoppolo who started and threw an interception in the first quarter to Asante Samuel Jr. In fact, the 49ers failed to score a single point with Garoppolo on the field, which didn't exactly inspire much confidence in the veteran.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Asante Samuel Jr. picks off Jimmy G 😳<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/3jAzfMzHDM">pic.twitter.com/3jAzfMzHDM</a>

It appeared to be more of the same when Lance entered in the second quarter. He double-pumped on multiple throws while also tossing an interception to Tevaughn Campbell on a high pass that hit Mohamed Sanu's hands. It was similar to Garoppolo's pick, which was high but also deflected off Brandon Aiyuk's hands.

However, the rookie bounced back during a two-minute drill to end the half and dropped in a beautifully placed deep ball to Trent Sherfield to set up a touchdown strike to Sanu.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Another <a href="https://twitter.com/chargers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@chargers</a> INT!<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsLAC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsLAC</a> on NFL Network (or check local listings) <a href="https://t.co/Rljw1aMs40">pic.twitter.com/Rljw1aMs40</a>

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Lance ➡️ Sherfield for 41 yards<br>Lance ➡️ Sanu for the TD!<br><br>The rookie QB leads the <a href="https://twitter.com/49ers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@49ers</a> to points 💪<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsLAC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsLAC</a> on NFL Network (or check local listings) <a href="https://t.co/oBjeDS2WL5">pic.twitter.com/oBjeDS2WL5</a>

Mina Kimes @minakimes

depending on what time you logged onto this app tonight, Trey Lance is either a bust or the second coming

It wasn't even his most impressive moment, as Lance directed another touchdown drive in the third quarter that he finished with a fastball through a tight window right into the waiting arms of Travis Benjamin.

Between the strong arm, the ability to put poor plays behind him and the additional mobility that Garoppolo simply does not provide, it is difficult to envision a scenario where Lance isn't the starter for the 49ers at some point during the 2021 campaign, even if he doesn't take the field in Week 1.

Easton Stick Provides Bright Spot for Chargers

It was difficult to develop any true takeaways from Sunday's game for a Chargers squad that was without key playmakers in Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa, but Stick and Chase Daniel had the opportunity to battle it out for the backup role.

Stick, who was a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft, impressed throughout the first half with the mobility to escape pressure and make plays with his legs.

He also demonstrated impressive touch on a deep pass to Jalen Guyton and staked the Chargers to a halftime lead. There were times when he looked like the best quarterback from North Dakota State on the field in a game that also included Lance.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Easton Stick with a DIME 🎯<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/4LAEaj1XTj">pic.twitter.com/4LAEaj1XTj</a>

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it...TOUCHDOWN!<a href="https://twitter.com/chargers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Chargers</a> QB Easton Stick shows off the patience and finds Josh Palmer for the score 🎯<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SFvsLAC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SFvsLAC</a> on NFL Network (or check local listings) <a href="https://t.co/9sbfdVqkIa">pic.twitter.com/9sbfdVqkIa</a>

Colin Cowherd @ColinCowherd

Gotta be honest, Easton Stick, has been the best QB on the field tonight.

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

tuned in for a 49ers quarterback battle... but watching Easton Stick outperform both of em 😳

Stick is less of a sure thing when it comes to a backup quarterback role than Daniel, who has suited up for the New Orleans Saints, Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions throughout a career that dates back to the 2010 campaign.

Still, it's not as if Daniel has done much throughout his career that suggests he could lead the Chargers to elevated heights in the AFC West if Hebert was sidelined for an extended period of time. Fittingly, he made a number of safe throws during the second half as the Los Angeles offense stalled multiple times.

Daniel also threw an ugly interception to Jared Mayden in the fourth quarter that would have been a pick-six were it not for a penalty on the return.

Stick looked like someone with a higher ceiling and appeared to take strides in the race for the backup quarterback position.

What's Next?

The 49ers will finish their preseason slate against the Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday, while the Chargers will do the same against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.