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The San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Competition Continues On

The 49ers quarterback battle grew more intense between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance with both vying to become the Week 1 starter.
49ers quarterback

In a West Coast clash, the San Francisco 49ers depth helped them prevail over the Los Angeles Chargers, but it didn’t always look easy. With the 49ers’ 15-10 win, the 49ers quarterback battle grew more intense between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance with both vying to become starters for week one.

Even if the 49ers future at quarterback is cloudy at best, last night’s game had three clear takeaways for fans to be excited about.

Quarterback Battle Biggest Takeaway From 49ers 15-10 Win Over Chargers

Trey Lance is improving

Arguably the biggest reason why the Niners won last night was rookie Lance’s ability to bounce back from a rocky start. Despite not nailing a pass on any of his first three drives, Lance got two scores on either side of halftime to put the 49ers up.

Lance being under time restraints didn’t seem to faze him, with his first touchdown showing off his calm demeanor. From his own 25-yard line, a five-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu after a short but efficient drive left just 12 seconds left on the clock. A nice birthday present for the 32-year-old wide receiver.

Coming out for the second half, the Niners showed more of the same intent. With Lance at the helm, it didn’t take long for the 49ers to go ahead. The 22-year-old fired a bullet over the middle to wideout Travis Benjamin for a 16-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter before handing over to third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld.

Lance finished with 8-of-14 for 102 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for a passer rating of 89.9.

Kyle Shanahan’s take on Lance’s performance

Speaking after the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan said he was pleased with Lance’s performance.

“I’ve said to him before each game, ‘Don’t go out there to try and impress anyone – try to get better. Soak it all in, and make sure you learn from it.’

“I understand whatever Trey does, the eyes are going to be on him. I don’t want him to have that pressure, but that’s also the reality of this business. When he came out, I thought he looked much more locked in, more comfortable. Then it started to stack up a little bit where it seemed like it was going the wrong direction. That’s why I was pumped about getting that two-minute drill at the end … I was real happy with how he finished.”

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Defensive line has incredible depth

An area the 49ers needed to improve upon before this season was their defensive line. With the likes of Zach Kerr being added to the roster, it came as no surprise the Niners were tearing down blocks on the defensive side of the ball.

Claiming five sacks against Chargers quarterbacks will go a long way to putting 49ers’ fans at ease especially having missed Nick Bosa almost all of last season. It was no surprise to see them stuffing L.A’s run game also – Chargers quarterback Easton Stick was their highest rusher with just 15 yards from three scrambles.

When asked if he’d been part of a defensive line with as much talent and depth as this one, Kerr’s answer was conclusive enough.

“Nope. Not even close man. That’s what I tell everyone when they ask me about the team, it’s easily the most talented room I’ve ever been apart of. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to come here, you look at the team and the history of the 49ers. For me, it was a no-brainer when they gave me a call.”

Reserves Kentavius Street and Jordan Willis also claimed sacks and Street once again praised his teammates for the way they played.

“This D-Line is crazy. I honestly don’t have words for it. It’s very rare, especially in the NFL, to have a room full of guys that can start anywhere in the league. To be a part of that is very humbling because each day you have to be at your best.”

49ers rushing game looks solid

Without a majority of their starting running back core, the 49ers still put up good numbers on a very sturdy Chargers defense. Wayne Gallman and JaMycal Hasty combined for 130 yards from 34 carries as the 49ers sidelined most of their numbers.

Trey Sermon was missing with a small ankle worry, whilst Elijah Mitchell was nursing a minor hip injury. They’re clearly not taking any chances either with Raheem Mostert, who was their leading rusher just two seasons prior.

Head coach Shanahan looked to really lean on the run game when Sudfeld came in for Lance in the middle of the third quarter. It’s safe to say they performed well considering reps were being shared between two players. For a team that was 15th in rushing offense last season, the Niners are looking strong with their offseason additions coming into play.

The 49ers (1-1) will play their third and final preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 29.

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