SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Trey Lance flashed his big arm in a brief preseason stint for San Francisco with a 76-yard touchdown pass to speedy rookie Danny Gray that helped the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 28-21 on Friday night.
Lance played just two series in the game but that was enough to show why the Niners made the decision to transition from Jimmy Garoppolo to Lance at quarterback.
“He did some good things for a first game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I wish we could have kept him in more but we had to get him out.”
Lance delivered a perfect deep strike to Gray on San Francisco's second possession and Gray raced the rest of the way for the score. The pass traveled 34 yards downfield, longer than all but one of Garoppolo's completions the past two seasons for San Francisco.
“Throw it to the fast guy,” Lance said. “Danny did a great job. He’s done a great job all camp. He’s a difference-maker on offense. His speed is something I've had maybe one time my entire life. He’s a fun guy to have.”
The ability to throw it deep was one reason why San Francisco traded three first-round picks to draft Lance third overall in 2021 to replace Garoppolo. Lance spent most of his rookie season on the bench but has taken over the offense this year as the Niners look to trade Garoppolo.
Lance finished 4 for 5 for 92 yards, a TD and a perfect 158.3 rating. He ran it once for 7 yards and slid at the end in what he said was a first in his life.
Green Bay's young quarterback wasn't as sharp on a night when both teams played only a handful of starters.
Jordan Love threw three interceptions to go along with two TD passes in one half of action with starter Aaron Rodgers sitting out the exhibition game.
Love found rookie Romeo Doubs on a 33-yard TD on Green Bay's second drive and then connected on another 33-yarder to Danny Davis at the end of the half.
“Certainly, he’s going to want a couple of the throws back and certainly some of the reads,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “But it’s never perfect for a quarterback. But I thought, by and large, just watching the things like how the operation was, it was a smooth operation.”
But Love had three interceptions in between those TDs, including two that went off his own receivers' hands. Love, who has thrown just 61 passes since being drafted in the first round in 2020, went 13 for 24 for 176 yards.
“I think for everybody, it could have been a better night," Love said. “The ball just happens to bounce a weird way. They capitalized on those plays. Obviously, no one wants that to happen, and it sucks when it does. It’s something to learn from.”
The teams then traded TD passes in the fourth quarter, with Danny Etling throwing a 22-yarder to Amari Rodgers to give Green Bay a 21-20 lead and San Francisco answering with Brock Purdy's 5-yard TD to Tanner Hudson.
It was an up-and-down debut for Doubs, who has impressed in training camp after being drafted in the fourth round. The highlight was the TD catch but he also dropped a pass and had a ball ripped out of his hands for an interception by Samuel Womack.
Womack was one of impressive rookies for the Niners, intercepting two passes from Love as the fifth-round pick out of Toledo makes a bid for the slot cornerback spot in San Francisco.
Gray, a third-round pick, had two catches for 99 yards.
One of the big focuses this training camp for Green Bay has been on the special teams after that unit struggled mightily last season and was a major reason why the Packers lost in the divisional round to San Francisco.
It didn't start well in the debut under new coordinator Rich Bisaccia with a holding penalty on the opening kick. But Amari Rodgers did provide a bright spot with a 50-yard kick return.
Backup kicker Gabe Brkic also missed a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.
San Francisco rookie DE Drake Jackson (shoulder) and Dontae Johnson (ribs) left the game. Green Bay LB Tipa Galeai (shoulder) and S Dallin Leavitt also got hurt. ... Shanahan said CB Charvarius Ward (groin) and Elijah Mitchell (hamstring) have soft tissue injuries and won’t be available next week.
Packers: Host New Orleans on Aug. 19.
49ers: At Minnesota on Aug. 20.