SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trey Lance and Jake Moody got some vindication on the final drive for the San Francisco 49ers.
Lance shook off an interception on his first drive to set up two fourth-quarter scores, including the winning 32-yard field goal from Moody on the final play of San Francisco’s 21-20 victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.
Moody bounced back after missing two field goals last week and an extra point earlier in the game to convert the winner as he tries to show why the Niners used a third-round pick on a kicker.
“There’s pressure in those situations,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s really what he has to go through, those pressure moments. It was cool to generate some of those for him today. It was a step forward from last week.”
Lance followed up last week’s shaky start by throwing an interception on a screen pass on his first possession of the game. But he also threw a 22-yard TD pass to Cameron Latu and two big passes to Ronnie Bell to set up the winning kick.
Lance finished 12 for 18 for 173 yards.
“I feel like every time I step on the field, I learn so much, I get so much better from every rep,” Lance said. “Just seeing as many pictures as I can and continue to get as many reps as I can with these guys.”
Lance is in a battle with Sam Darnold to be the backup to Brock Purdy.
Purdy got his first game action since injuring his elbow in San Francisco’s NFC title game loss at Philadelphia. Purdy underwent surgery March 10 and made it back for training camp but didn’t play in the preseason opener at Las Vegas.
He looked good against the Broncos, throwing mostly short passes in his brief action. He went 4 for 5 for 65 yards — thanks in part to Deebo Samuel turning two short passes into long gains — but San Francisco (1-1) settled for a field goal after a sack in the red zone stalled the drive.
“It felt really good to be out there with the guys in a game environment,” Purdy said. “Obviously, just get the nerves out a little bit, just build up to a game and everything. … It felt really good to be out there for a drive and the game environment.”
Russell Wilson then came on for Denver and efficiently moved the Broncos (0-2) down the field on a 13-play drive that also ended in a field goal. After taking until his fourth drive last week to lead Denver to a score on a TD pass, Wilson looked better against a San Francisco defense that had most of its starters outside of holding out star edge rusher Nick Bosa.
Wilson completed 3 of 6 passes for 24 yards and also ran three times for 25 yards before turning the game over to Jarrett Stidham.
“I thought he was sharp,” coach Sean Payton said.
Darnold relieved Purdy and completed 11 of 14 passes for 109 yards. He had one pass intercepted that deflected off Bell and ended his night with an 11-yard TD pass to undrafted rookie fullback Jack Colletto.
Lance then overcame the shaky start to lead the Niners back for the win.
BACK IN ACTION
Broncos running back Javonte Williams got the start in his first game action since going down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 4 last year. Williams dropped a screen pass on his first snap but kept busy after that. He had 3 carries for 12 yards and four catches for 18 yards in two drives.
“It was like a weight lifted off of me,” Williams said. “I was thinking it was going to hurt. But I really didn’t feel it.”
Niners WR Danny Gray left with a possible collarbone injury after getting hurt on the opening kick return. DL Kerry Hyder Jr. left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Broncos WR Jalen Virgil left the game with a knee injury after getting hurt on a 50-yard catch on the final play of the first half. Virgil got tackled at the 1 and the clock ran out as Jarrett Stidham spiked the ball to try to set up a final play.
Broncos: Host the Rams in the preseason finale next Saturday night.
49ers: Conclude the preseason at home against the Chargers on Friday night.