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San Francisco 49ers QB competition only heats up after loss to Raiders

For several NFL teams, the preseason was a chance to get some concrete answers at key positions. For the San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation, this was one of those opportunities.

Let’s recap what the 49ers have in terms of a quarterback situation heading into the regular season.

Brock Purdy: Coming off an elbow injury which required surgery this past offseason. Cleared to throw, but was held out of the Week 1 preseason game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders.

Trey Lance: After an injury plagued start to his career, Lance was given the start in Las Vegas and is hoping to have a legitimate shot at winning the starting job, or at least the QB2, spot on the roster.

Sam Darnold: Acquired by the 49ers this offseason, Darnold brings experience to a QB room which lacks experience. Darnold hasn’t succeeded anywhere he’s played throughout his career, but it’s thought in the Shanahan system he could thrive.

As previously stated, Purdy didn’t play when the team headed to Las Vegas on Sunday, and the results from Lance and Darnold were mixed, to put it mildly.

Let’s take a look at the statistical breakdown between Lance and Darnold:

  • Lance: 10/15, 110 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 7.5 average, 4 sacks, 111,0 rating
  • Darnold: 5/8, 84 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 10.5 average, 0 sacks, 97.9 rating

Statistics can be deceiving, and they certainly were when you look at Lance’s performance vs. his stat line. Was Lance bad all the time? Absolutely not. Plays are making their rounds on social media, as were several sacks surrendered by the 49ers offense, but not everything Lance did was bad.

Take this throw for instance. It shows the potential which resides within Trey Lance.

As for Lance’s touchdown pass, well, it was interesting. The ball deflected off a defender and into the diving arms of his tight end who was in the right place at the right time.

If you are going to judge Lance’s performance, you need to look at the entire body of work, and not hand-picked plays on social media or television. Below you’ll see every pass attempt for Lance vs. the Raiders on Sunday.

Regardless of what is written, most major media outlets have made up their mind about Lance and his overall potential. The picture they are painting is one of a quarterback who is in over his head, and will never see a starting role again.

When you look at the 49ers’ quarterback situation, it is anything but certain heading into the regular season. Everyone suggests Purdy is healthy heading into the regular season, yet the only throwing he’s done has been in training camp. Lance struggled at times in Week 1 of the preseason, but he is still a learning quarterback at this stage of his career/development. As for Darnold, he could fit the bill, but would likely be considered nothing more than a placeholder at the position in the Shanahan system.

Can the 49ers overcome their quarterback conundrum? Is their defense good enough to weather the early storms of the regular season? That has yet to be determined, but if the 49ers, and their fan base, were looking for clarity following the Week 1 preseason game, it came only in the form of hoping Brock Purdy is fully health when the team travels to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers in Week 1.

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