That was the most aggressive we’ve seen Kyle Shanahan on fourth down since his first year as a head coach if not ever. The 49ers didn’t convert on fourth down as most would have liked, but it was encouraging to see Shanahan coach to win.
“Overall, I think we could have done a little bit better around him.” Kyle Shanahan said afterward when asked to assess the rookie. “I thought he did good enough to win.”
“I don’t see why there’s any question whether he’ll be fine or not,” Williams said. “We moved the ball up and down the field. He made some dynamic plays with his legs, made some plays with his arm. Trey is going to be fine. Nothing I’ve seen makes me think otherwise.”
Lance also didn’t get much help from his supporting cast as he was under pressure often, struggled to connect on throws downfield and had at least three passes dropped by receivers. Lance was 2-of-8 for 32 yards with the interception when under duress and 2-of-9 for 52 yards with an interception on passes traveling 15 or more air yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The 49ers also were flagged for five offensive holding penalties, all in the second half, and were 1-of-5 on fourth down, becoming the first Niners team to not convert that many times a game since Nov. 7, 1999. All of that added up to a loss in Lance’s first start, and the 49ers’ third consecutive defeat as they fell to 2-3 on the season.
Murray completed 22 of 31 passes for 239 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The 49ers generated a takeaway with cornerback Dontae Johnson stripped Edmonds of the ball after a short pass completion.
DeAndre Hopkins had six catches for 87 yards for the Cardinals, and he seized control in the fourth quarter in helping the Cardinals build a 10-point lead. He caught a deep ball on Jimmie Ward, then went to the other side and beat Josh Norman for a 9-yard touchdown reception.
D.J. Jones and Nick Bosa registered sacks on Murray for a combined 29 yards.
Why the 49ers lost
Remember all the talk about how Trey Lance would revitalize Kyle Shanahan’s offense? Well, the rookie definitely gave it all, putting his body on the line in a never-say-die rushing performance that helped Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel also find space with the ball in their hands. But as a passer, he was not nearly as effective, struggling on everything from short to deep shots — some of them influenced by interior pressure, some of them the byproduct of an excitable run-first approach. The Niners simply couldn’t do much of anything through the air. And while their defense was surprisingly stout for much of the contest, limiting the Cardinals’ rushing attack and keeping Murray in check for the better part of a half, it couldn’t quite lock down deep shots to Hopkins and Moore in a game that demanded near-perfection.
49ers left tackle Trent Williams: ”He was poised. He was confident. I feel like Trey gave us a chance to win.”
* 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, who was impressed with how Lance was able to shake off the amount of hits he took: ”You want so much for a young guy when he’s in there in his first start to be successful, gain that confidence. We have all the confidence in the world in Trey. When you’re a young guy and you’re taking those shots from these big dudes — we’re the ones on the opposite side. We know how that is. Admirable.”
* 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa: ”It was fun to watch. He definitely runs the ball hard. Might need to learn how to slide.”
* 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who thinks Lance is close to being where he needs to be as a quarterback: ”I think he’s kind of right there. There’s just little things he has to capitalize on and learn as a rookie, you know.”