The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the San Francisco 49ers 19-16 Saturday night as the former Super Bowl foes kicked off their 2021 preseason campaigns. Despite both teams either sitting or limiting most of their starters, the matchup was far from lacking in excitement, as No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance dazzled in his professional debut.
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Lance shines in first opportunity: The hype surrounding Lance in the run-up to his first outing was reaching astronomical levels, but the former North Dakota State Bison exceeded expectations in some respects Saturday night. Lance exhibited an advanced understanding of the offense, looking comfortable operating head coach Kyle Shanahan’s play-action-heavy scheme, as he finished with 128 yards through the air on just five completions from 14 attempts. Lance’s jaw-dropping arm strength was on full display from the onset, as he began his second drive of the evening with an 80-yard touchdown to Trent Sherfield. Hampered by four dropped passes, Lance earned a sub-50.0 PFF grade due largely to three turnover-worthy plays and four sacks. Overall, 49ers fans have much to be excited about as Lance displayed the highs and lows that make him such a captivating prospect.
Trey Sermon looks to take control of starting RB job: With presumed starting running back Raheem Mostert sitting out Saturday, third-round pick Trey Sermon worked to entrench himself atop the depth chart, accumulating 26 rushing yards on nine attempts to go along with 14 receiving yards on two receptions. While the rookie was unable to display the explosiveness that set him apart at Oklahoma and Ohio State, he did exhibit toughness and patience that should at least put him in competition with Mostert for carries. Sermon ended his debut with a sub-60.0 grade, a number influenced greatly by his fumble toward the end of the first quarter.
Deommodore Lenoir impresses in an elevated role: Lance and Sermon were far from the only rookie to turn heads in their debuts, as cornerback Deommodore Lenoir pulled down the 49ers' only interception of the night while allowing just one reception on five targets. Lenoir’s pick was an impressive play from start to finish, as the fifth-round rookie shadowed tight end Noah Gray on a quick out before snagging the interception on a ball that hit Gray in the hands before popping up in the air.
Kansas City’s revamped O-Line excites in limited stint: Kansas City’s offseason was dominated by their overhaul of the unit up front, as the reigning AFC champions are projected to start five new offensive linemen this coming season. The unit passed their first test with flying colors, as Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang registered just 11 snaps together but looked strong in their limited showing.