After two days of joint practices, the San Francisco 49ers and the Las Vegas Raiders met in a preseason matchup on Sunday, with the Raiders coming out on top, 34-7.

Some perspective – the projected starters on offense and defense – except for projected starting nickel Isaiah Oliver – sat this one out, and it’s the preseason.

That being said, there are takeaways to be had, so let’s dive in.

Trey Lance v. Sam Darnold

The Battle for QB2 wages on. Trey Lance started Sunday’s game and played the first half, while Sam Darnold started the second half.

Trey Lance

Lance’s first three drives were, in a word, awful. It wasn’t all on him, as San Francisco’s second-string offensive line did him no favors, but he does shoulder some of the blame.

Embed from Getty Images

“I know there’s one I definitely could have thrown away and avoided a sack,” Lance said. “At least it felt like it on the field.” It felt like that in the press box too.

Lance was sacked four times total.

“For anybody in this league, when there are a bunch of sacks, the O-line gets blamed too much, it’s always usually there in the middle,” Shanahan said.

“There are places we could get people out and I mean, in our room, we’re always hard on quarterbacks. We try to look through every way possible on how to not take the sack. But you don’t just avoid those by throwing picks and stuff too. We’ll look at it, we’ll see what his chances were being able to get those off, but I thought a couple he definitely couldn’t, and a couple he probably could have.”

Lance’s only touchdown throw of the game was a lucky one that looked destined to be an interception, but destiny changed its mind at the last minute. Raiders’ CB Duke Shelley had the ball, bobbled the ball, and then kindly directed it to 49ers’ TE Ross Dwelley. Joint practices can really bring people together.

Embed from Getty Images

49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan called it a “hell of a play” that was “almost a hell of a play for [the Raiders].”

“There was an open hole, and it was nice that [Lance] saw it, flipped and went forward,” Shanahan said. “I’m glad he tried to rip it, and it was a tight window. He could have put a little bit more in front of him, but the guy came and made a good play on it, and it ended up working out for us.”

Lance had a little bit of a different take on the moment.

“It was a, ‘Yes, yes, yes, no, yes’ situation,” Lance said.

Lance finished the day 10-of-15 for 112 yards, a TD, no interceptions (but two almost interceptions) and a passer rating of 111. He also had a couple of really lovely passes – one to Willie Snead and one to Chris Conley.

“For me, I was just excited to get back out there,” Lance said. “Honestly, today that was the biggest thing, go play real football again, go compete again. So, that felt good…But just from drive to drive, just got to execute better.”

Sam Darnold

Meanwhile, Darnold played the first 16 minutes of the second half but will most likely get the lion’s share of the reps in the 49ers Saturday preseason game against the Denver Broncos.

“I thought he did a great job,” Shanahan said. “I mean, coming in the second half and you’re in there with two and threes on the O-line. Same with the receivers and everything. We wanted to be careful with Sam for that reason, but we also wanted him to play, too. It was nice to be able to give Trey the whole first half, get Sam a little bit. Hopefully, Sam will get a little bit more time next week.”

Embed from Getty Images

Darnold went 5-of-8 for 84 yards, with his first pass being a 37-yarder to rookie wide receiver Ronnie Bell. Speaking of Ronnie Bell.

Ronnie Bell

Bell, a seventh-round pick out of the University of Michigan, had a mostly very good day as he fights to make the 53-man roster, a fight which is definitely more winnable with Ray-Ray McCLoud recovering from a broken wrist.

Bell fielded two punt returns and two kickoffs. He looked comfortable and somewhat fearless at the position. He had three catches for 58 yards and a 15-yard jet sweep.

Embed from Getty Images

“I was just excited to get the ball and looking to make a play,” Bell said. “The corner played it well. I think that’s who I ran into, and then I was just trying my best to keep my feet in and get as much as I can.”

It wasn’t all roses for Bell though, as a pass from fourth-string quarterback Brandon Allen went through his hands and into the hands of Raiders CB Sam Webb. Webb ran 43-yards with the ball and Las Vegas scored on the next play.

“Ronnie did some really good things in the return game, had that good jet sweep, made some good passes,” Shanahan said. “His best route was the one he served up to them on the pick, so that was unfortunate.”

Bell plans to learn from that one.

“I can’t let myself relax,” Bell said. “I let myself relax and then, yeah, the defense capitalized on that. So I can’t let that happen.”

Jake Moody

Kicker Jake Moody, who the 49ers’ picked at No. 99 in the 2023 NFL Draft, did not have his best day. The rookie out of the University of Michigan missed both of his field goal attempts – a 40-yarder to the left and a 58-yarder wide right.

“It’s unfortunate because I know the pressure on him, everyone’s looking,” Shanahan said. “I know he missed those two today, but he’s been great in practice. He said he was just excited to attempt a long one, which was fun, but the toes missed. But he’s been great and handles himself well, so no issues here with me.”

Embed from Getty Images

Well said. He’s known as Money Moody for a reason. He’ll be fine.

“I’m glad it happened now,” Moody said. “There’s a lot to learn from it. Watch the tape, stuff like that and move on to the next one.”

The next one will be this coming Saturday at Levi’s Stadium, when the 49ers host the Broncos for their next preseason game. Moody is looking forward to it.

“It’s already washed away,” Moody said. “I was hoping we could have one more just so I could prove that those were flukes. Those were not normal. I wanted one more to just kind of feel better. But I just have to wait until next week.”

In other words, he’s on to Denver.

The Corners Showed Up

Ambry Thomas, who had a strong OTAs and a strong training camp, continued that trend on Sunday. With Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir not suiting up, Thomas and Sam Womack both had the opportunity to show what they could do and both of them did.

Embed from Getty Images

“I think Ambry, starting off in OTAs, and all the way to training camp, he’s come back a different player than he was last year,” Shanahan said. “It looked like that from the sidelines. I thought it flew around, made a couple tackles, and I’m excited to watch him on the plane when I see the film.”

Womack, who had four tackles in the first half, combined with LB Marcelino McCrary Ball to stop the Raiders on a second quarter 3rd-and-1. Then, Thomas and Kerry Hyder stopped Zamir White on 4th-and-1 and the Raiders turned it over on downs.

Thomas also had a nice pass breakup late in the first half.

An area to watch is at the nickel position, where Isaiah Oliver had some struggles. If there’s a weak spot on the 49ers’ defense, this has the potential to be it.

Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

I created Fangirl Sports Network as a place for female sports fans to follow their favorite teams with content and coverage that speaks directly to females. It started with one and then eight and now 32 NFL Fangirls and 15 NBA Fangirls.