The 49ers lost to the Chicago Bears, 19-10, after leading 10-0 in the third quarter, and overall, they fell apart in the second half in almost every aspect of the game.
Lance went 13 of 28 and threw one interception and zero touchdowns, which led to a sizable portion of the Niners Faithful already calling him a bust and asking for Jimmy Garoppolo to retake his starting spot under center.
But overreactions such as that one following Week 1 are unwise and unproductive.
One man who recognizes that as much as anyone on the planet is Jerry Rice, the Hall of Fame San Francisco receiver who is widely recognized as the greatest ever to play the position.
The three-time Super Bowl champion said that while Lance didn’t play extremely well, he played well enough.
“He missed a couple of throws; the one he overthrew to the tight end,” Rice said on The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game. “But I felt like he played OK. I feel like he did enough to win that football game.”
Rice still has plenty of confidence and faith in the 22-year-old signal-caller.
“I think he’s only going to get better,” he said of Lance. “Look at some of the throws he made to Brandon Aiyuk and some of the other receivers, guys.”
During the interview, he also praised Lance’s maturity and composure, while also pointing out a key fumble All-Pro wideout Deebo Samuel had, plus the fact that Pro Bowl George Kittle was out with a groin injury.
Lance Did Fairly Well In The First Half And Change
For a good portion of the contest, it looked like the 49ers were controlling things and were on their way to victory.
Lance’s throwing accuracy was a bit short of stellar, but it was solid nonetheless as he consistently made good reads and found his receivers.
He made three passes for a gain of at least 20 years, including this dart to Ray-Ray McCloud in the second quarter.
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) September 12, 2022
It had to have been thrown right on the money, otherwise it could’ve easily been intercepted.
Then there was this bomb to Jauan Jennings for 44 yards in the third period.
This is great recognition from Trey Lance. Chicago rotates to a single-high safety look post-snap.
As soon as Lance sees the safety rotate down, he knows he'll have Jennings one-on-one on the slot fade vs. a corner. Lance lets it RIP as soon as Jennings gets level with the DB. pic.twitter.com/3PDiFs89iL
— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) September 12, 2022
A knee injury to Elijah Mitchell in the second quarter seriously hurt the 49ers’ offense, as he had run for 41 yards on six attempts to that point.
The conditions at Soldier Field became very rainy deep into the second half, which impacted the quality of play.
Lance’s opposite number, Justin Fields, didn’t have a great game either, as he completed eight of 17 passes and also threw an interception, but the main difference is he also had two touchdown passes.
A couple of times, Lance overthrew his intended receiver, and that may simply be the type of thing that will correct itself as he gets more reps and experience during game situations.
His most lauded quality – his running ability – was on point, as he got San Francisco six first downs with his legs.
He Will Have Opportunities To Rectify His Mistakes
Luckily for the 49ers, their early schedule is fairly manageable.
Next week, they will face the Seattle Seahawks, a team that earned a surprise Monday night win over the Denver Broncos but will likely miss the playoffs this season.
Then, after two challenging contests versus the Broncos and Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco will play the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, two games that should be very winnable.
By the end of the Falcons game, the football world should start to have a much better idea of who Lance is at this point of his career.
Until then, patience is the key with him, as Rice insisted.