Chiefs 49ers Football

San Francisco quarterback Trey Lance releases a pass Saturday during a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Lance was 5 of 14 for 128 yards, with an 80-yard touchdown pass. Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Trey Lance’s up-and-down debut performance in the preseason has done little to alter the timeline the San Francisco 49ers have for when their rookie quarterback will get more time with the first team in practice and possibly take over as starter.

Lance had a few dazzling plays on Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield but also showed some signs of inexperience with some off-target throws and inability to avoid sacks.

So as the Niners head into the week of their second preseason game following two joint practices against the Los Angeles Chargers, the pecking order at quarterback remains Jimmy Garoppolo as starter with Lance mixing in just occasionally with the first team.

“I haven’t really defined that for myself either,” Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday about what Lance needs to show to get more time in practice with the starters.

“When I think it feels right, when he seems ready, when I think the team seems ready. We’ll continue to mix them in there. But I don’t plan on just doing that completely. … I wish I could help him out there longer. I know he enjoys playing. He’s only been able to play one game in over a year. But I think it was good for him to get out. I think he started out good, got a little excited sometimes, which he does. And you get a little excited, some of your technique and stuff you lose, which will be fun to watch with him.”

Lance threw the 80-yard TD pass on the first play of his second drive, making a half roll to his left, stopping and throwing back across the field to Sherfield. The Niners got a field goal on their next drive and then came up empty on the final five possessions with Lance in the game, getting just two first downs on those drives.

Lance finished 5 for 14 for 128 yards. He was hurt by three dropped passes by his receivers but also nearly threw two interceptions and recovered his own fumble on one of his four sacks.

The Niners invested heavily in Lance, trading three first-round picks to get up to No. 3 in the draft. Despite inexperience in college when Lance played just one full season at FCS-level North Dakota State and only one game last season, Shanahan saw enough to believe that Lance has the tools to be a franchise quarterback.

But with Garoppolo in place as the starter after helping San Francisco reach the Super Bowl in the 2019 season, the Niners aren’t in a rush to make the change despite some of the highlight plays from Lance so far in practice and in the first exhibition game.

“We all know Trey has the ability to play well and do some special things,” Shanahan said. “Being in practice and you saw a little bit in the game, but that’s not playing quarterback in the NFL. You’ve got to have the ability to get into the club, but it’s how you respond to adversity, how you can play over the course of a game, when you do make a mistake, can you come back and make another big play?

“I know there’s a lot of things that he’s going to already know without seeing us that he’s going to be hard on himself for and that he can get better. That’s why I’m just excited to get it going. I can’t wait for him to play in these next two.”

PACKERS: Quarterback Jordan Love’s status for Green Bay’s next exhibition game is uncertain because of a shoulder issue that prevented him from playing in the second half of his pro debut.

Love said after Saturday night’s 26-7 loss to the Houston Texans that “I just dinged my shoulder a little bit” when Jonathan Greenard sacked him and forced a fumble late in the second quarter.

“He’s doing fine,” Packers Coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday. “It’s something though that is significant enough that he could miss a couple of days of practice. We’ll see where he’s at, at the end of the week. We’re going to take it day by day.”

LaFleur said Saturday night that the Packers initially hoped to have Love play three quarters but decided to rest him the entire second half after the hit from Greenard.

The Packers host the New York Jets on Saturday in their next preseason matchup. They’re also conducting joint practices with the Jets on Wednesday and Thursday.

If the Packers decide to hold Love out of the Jets game, they could be in the market for a quarterback.

LaFleur has said he doesn’t plan to use reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers in any exhibition games. The only other quarterback on Green Bay’s roster is Kurt Benkert, who played the entire second half Saturday.

BROWNS: Mack Wilson’s shoulder injury could push rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah into the starting lineup sooner than expected.

The team was awaiting MRI results on Wilson, a projected starter on Cleveland’s revamped defense, after he injured his shoulder early in Saturday night’s 23-13 exhibition win at Jacksonville.

Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski provided little information Sunday on Wilson’s status – or for any of the other Cleveland players who were hurt in the preseason opener.

Owusu-Koramoah, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, was one of the biggest bright spots in Cleveland’s convincing win. Flashing the speed that made him attractive to the Browns before the draft, Owusu-Koramoah recorded a team-high eight tackles – three for loss – and a sack in his pro debut.

GIANTS: Second-year linebacker TJ Brunson and defensive back Joshua Kalu sustained major injuries during Saturday’s preseason loss to the Jets.

The team announced that Brunson tore the ACL in his left knee. The South Carolina product who was drafted in the seventh round last year was hurt late in the fourth quarter of the 12-7 loss while rushing the passer.

Kalu, who started the game in which the Giants rested their starting secondary, tore a pectoral muscle, the team said.

Both injuries normally end a player’s season.


COLTS 21, PANTHERS 18: Jacob Eason was efficient in place of the injured Carson Wentz, and rookie Sam Ehlinger delivered in the final quarter for host Indianapolis.

Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick out of Texas, began his NFL debut with an interception. But he regrouped and drove the Colts to a tying touchdown, capped by his 2-point conversion run. Ehlinger then scrambled 11 and 9 yards to set up Eddy Pineiro’s 30-yard field goal in the final seconds.

Eason played the first half and finished 15 of 21 for 183 yards with a lost fumble as the Colts got a look at their backup quarterback options while Wentz recovers from foot surgery. Ehlinger handled the second half, completing 10 of 15 passes for 155 yards and the one pick.

Panthers starting QB Sam Darnold didn’t play, either, and the game was dominated by defensive reserves. Former Colts practice squad player P.J. Walker started at quarterback for Carolina, going 10 of 21 for 161 yards and a touchdown.

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