At long last, the preseason has met its end. It was not glorious, nor was it all that enlightening, but luckily, it is no more. Now begins the 17-day wait until the start of the regular season.
Here’s what we learned from the final preseason game:
Horrendous offensive line play
I mean, good grief.
We didn’t really learn much about Trey Lance on Thursday because the offensive line was so resoundingly putrid.
He had some misses, for sure, like a deep underthrow of Deebo Samuel (on a third down with Brandon Aiyuk wide open underneath) and a short overthrow of George Kittle. But he didn’t have much of an opportunity to make plays given how consistently under fire he was.
The offensive like struggled mightily without Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey.
While Kyle Shanahan left the door open for Lance and some of the starters to play the first half, he said his hope was for a couple series. Lance played three series, and with the way his linemen were protecting, it would have been tempting fate to put him back out there.
It’s tough to say who was consistently at fault without reviewing tape, but it’s evident that without Williams and McGlinchey, it is a bottom tier group.
That all reinforces the concern over the interior offensive line that was apparent entering this training camp. Even with solid camps from Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford, it’s not a group that inspires confidence.
Sam “Makes Plays“ Womack
The rise of Samuel Womack III over the last two weeks has been impressive. He was having a fairly unremarkable camp, but came away with two interceptions in the first preseason game, and veteran Darqueze Dennard was made part of the first round of cuts shortly after.
It’s a nickel corner group that features Womack, Deommodore Lenoir and Qwuantrezz Knight, with Womack looking firmly like he’ll secure that job for himself.
On Thursday, he drew a defensive pass interference call on a fade, catching part of a jersey on the way up. The next time the Texans tried him in the red zone, he ripped through the ball at the catch point and knocked it loose.
Tarvarius Moore — who entered the blue medical tent in the third quarter — reacted to the ball, snagging it after the deflection for an interception, taking a knee.
At this point, it’s Womack’s job, and looking like the 49ers’ scouting staff made a solid recommendation in the fifth round on the Toledo man.
Penalties, please, stop, no more penalties
This was going to be a takeaway about how Trey Sermon was decent, but praising him for a 20-yard performance on eight carries just doesn’t feel right.
The story of this game was how unbelievably bad the offense was. The line got cooked and just could not stop committing penalties.
In total, it was 11 penalties for 104 yards on the 49ers’ side. The Texans committed just six for 45 yards.
If this is how you chose to spend your Thursday night, the 49ers should reimburse you, either with a food/drink voucher or with the latest horrific NFT they’ve cooked up.
There were definite moments of excitement. Brock Purdy had a great, layered throw to Ross Dwelley, a dart to Troy Fumagalli and a quick slant that Malik Turner couldn’t secure (he also had an interception and a near interception). Sermon had a couple nice runs. Charles Omenihu had a sack and a tackle for a loss.
But on the whole, the great blessing of this game was in its conclusion. It’s a reminder that the worst part of the season is in the rear view and soon enough, we can finally see what on earth this team will look like with Trey Lance at the helm. Amen.