Trey Lance made his second-ever NFL start in Week 17, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 23-7 win over the Houston Texans.
Throwing for 249 yards and a couple of touchdowns, Lance showed why the Niners took the North Dakota State alum at third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He also showed where he has to improve, as some early misses and an interception led to only three first-half points for San Francisco.
Brian Baldinger took notice. The former NFL offensive lineman and NFL Network analyst hopped on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday to talk Niners, with a good bit of the discussion focusing on the young QB.
For Baldinger, it’s hard to throw out much hard criticism for Lance.
“I thought he was good. I can’t find any glaring mistakes from Trey this past weekend,” Baldinger said. “I thought he saw the field really well, considering he hadn’t really played in three months… I thought he threw the ball with real touch when he had to. I thought he lasered it when he had to. It’s hard to find, really, any criticism.”
It’s nice of Baldinger to say, but Lance’s early interception that came on a poor decision, seen below, can’t be ignored either.
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Analyst References John Elway While Talking Lance
The most notable thing Baldinger said about Lance on Tuesday involved when he evoked legendary NFL Hall of Famer John Elway. The NFL Network analyst didn’t say he was a perfect regeneration of Elway, but that his physical ability draws comparisons to the two-time Super Bowl champion.
“The reason why he was the third pick in the draft is he’s a big, strong kid with a big, strong arm,” Baldinger said. “You saw that arm. The throw to [wide receiver] Deebo [Samuel] down the field, across the field. Those are—I’m not saying he’s John Elway—but those are John Elway-type throws. Just a big arm, and he’s got a cannon, and it comes out hot.”
There’s no question that Lance can fire the ball. The play Baldinger mentioned was possibly the best example of that 49ers fans have seen.
The analyst definitely catches eyeballs by bringing up Elway, but he also makes it clear that he doesn’t think Lance is there yet, of course. But if Lance’s career plays out like Elway’s did, 49ers fans won’t be complaining.
49ers Star Compares Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo
Lance getting his opportunity on Sunday came due to regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a UCL sprain in his thumb. The 49ers turned to Lance, and it worked out.
On Tuesday, fullback Kyle Juszczyk spoke on NFL Network about the two QBs and what each brings to the team.
“Jimmy is so good at just being an efficient, on-time passer,” Juszczyk said. “Getting the ball out quick, letting his guys do things with it. And Trey, he can do a little bit more improvising, getting outside of the pocket and getting the ball downfield. And that is a stress for defenses.”
Juszczyk also added an interesting bit about Lance’s big-play ability thanks to roll-out style.
“I know in today’s age of football, if you can get outside of the pocket and extend the play, that’s where the big plays are, in these broken plays. You see it all across the league with mobile quarterbacks, so it’s great to have that element when we have Trey. But either quarterback that we have, each one of them has their strengths that really help our team.”