In his first game as starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Trey Lance offered a tantalizing glimpse of what fans can expect during the regular season.
The No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL draft played the first two series against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on Friday night. He led two scoring drives, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Danny Gray.
The touchdown was Lance's final play of the day, as he was replaced by Nate Sudfeld on San Francisco's next offensive possession. The 22-year-old finished 4-of-5 for 92 yards and a score through the air. He also had a seven-yard run on the team's first drive.
Nick Wagoner @nwagoner
Since 2019, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> have the fewest pass attempts outside the numbers traveling 20-plus yards in the NFL (77). Again, the smallest of samples, but paired with what we've seen in practice, that is likely to change with Trey Lance at QB.
Lance's lone incompletion was on an out route that was thrown too high and outside. Gray was able to corral the pass, but he couldn't get his feet down inbounds.
Gray could also carve out a notable role in the offense this season. He was the Niners' third draft pick in 2022 (No. 105 overall). The SMU alum has 4.33 40-yard-dash speed and earned high marks for his ability to generate yards after the catch.
Playing in the same offense with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle can make targets difficult to come by, but Gray's budding rapport with Lance could see him get on the field frequently.
The 49ers have been successful with Jimmy Garoppolo as their quarterback over the past three seasons. They had the best record in the NFC and reached the Super Bowl in 2019 but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the big game.
After a slow start last season, the 49ers won seven of their final nine games to claim a wild-card spot. They defeated the Dallas Cowboys and Packers in the playoffs, but their run came to an end with a loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
Despite some uncertainty at the start of the offseason, head coach Kyle Shanahan finally declared the 49ers as Lance's team when training camp opened in July.
There will likely be some bumps in the road along the way with Lance, who had just one full year of starting experience in college at North Dakota State in 2019. But his arm strength and running talent can open up new roads for Shanahan to explore with this offense.