SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In his first game in 315 days, San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance wasted little time showing his new fan base what he brings to the table against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night.
On just his second preseason pass attempt, Lance uncorked an 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Sherfield.
That play was the highlight of an otherwise tough debut for the No. 3 pick in April’s NFL draft. Lance, who replaced starter Jimmy Garoppolo after one series for the starting offense, played 29 snaps and went 5-of-14 for 128 yards with the score for a passer rating of 93.8.
Three of Lance’s nine incompletions were drops, including his first pass attempt to starting wideout Brandon Aiyuk. Lance also took four sacks behind an offensive line that was without starting center Alex Mack and left tackle Trent Williams, fumbled and recovered the ball on one of them, and had two passes that were nearly intercepted.
But it was Lance’s long touchdown throw to Sherfield that had Levi’s Stadium buzzing. On his second series, Lance dropped back, sold a play action fake to the right, rolled left and fired about 45 yards in the air to Sherfield, who was wide open. Sherfield ran untouched into the end zone for the score.
Garoppolo’s lone series ended after an offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Charlie Woerner nullified a third-down completion to Aiyuk. Garoppolo finished 3-of-3 for 26 yards.
The 49ers held many of their key players out of Saturday’s preseason opener. In addition to Williams and Mack, tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, linebacker Fred Warner, defensive linemen Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa and cornerback Jason Verrett were among the 22 players the Niners opted to sit.
Josh Rosen replaced Lance on San Francisco’s second offensive series of the third quarter.