But he wasn’t a huge culprit, as the 49ers’ secondary failed to prevent Bears QB Justin Fields from making several big plays downfield, while they committed 12 penalties that cost them 99 yards and led to multiple first downs for the Bears.
Lance has plenty of work to do, but he did enough to give Niners fans plenty of reason to feel encouraged and hopeful about what lays ahead for him.
On the other hand, there are the inevitable naysayers who are already calling Lance a bust and think the team made a huge mistake in turning the offense over to him.
One of them is Mike Martz, a former NFL coach who was once the 49ers’ offensive coordinator back in 2008.
Martz not only criticized Lance for his poor performance, but he feels that he won’t amount to much, if anything, as a QB1.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 13, 2022
“I’ve never seen anything about this kid that was encouraging at all,” he said. “… He’s not a quick decision guy. … He’s not Lamar [Jackson], I don’t know what he is. He’s not a particularly good guy running with the football and based on what I saw today, he missed two guys completely by themselves.”
Martz added that he “never liked [Lance]” and that he still doesn’t, although he did admit that Lance “can only get better.”
Lance Was More Of A Mixed Bag
In the first half and early in the third quarter, the North Dakota State University product wasn’t great, but he was very solid.
The 49ers ran the football a good amount, even after starting running back Elijah Mitchell exited early in the second quarter with a sprained MCL, but when Lance threw the football, he connected more often than not.
He had three complete passes of at least 20 yards, and during that span, he missed on only one deep pass, one that would’ve hit Tyler Kroft in stride as he was breaking towards the end zone in the first quarter.
Another angle of Trey Lance’s incompletion targeting Tyler Kroft. I thought it was a TD😩 pic.twitter.com/ca8kCfjX8w
— Travis Bell (@TravTheSav_) September 12, 2022
But Lance also made this pass into a tight window to connect with Ray-Ray McCloud, a pass that could’ve easily been intercepted if it had been a bit off.
It’s impossible to evaluate Trey Lance considering the conditions yesterday.
But he made some really impressive plays with his arm & legs.
— Chase Senior (@Chase_Senior) September 12, 2022
In terms of Lance’s maturity and leadership, he began his post-game press conference by admitting he “made too many mistakes” while elaborating on them, which is a good sign.
"I made too many mistakes. The defense kept us in the game. I had a big miss to Tyler Kroft in the end zone," Trey Lance opens his press conference listing his errors against the Bears
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) September 11, 2022
He was certainly effective using his legs, as he gained 54 yards on 13 attempts and got his team six first downs by himself.
Lance’s accuracy plummeted in the second half when it started raining hard, but Fields’ accuracy all game long was about as poor as Lance’s.
How Credible Is Martz’s Opinion?
Back in the day, Martz was the offensive coordinator for one of the greatest teams ever, the world champion 1999 St. Louis Rams.
But when Martz was with the 49ers in 2008, he had another opinion on a QB of theirs that didn’t age well.
He said that J.T. O’Sullivan, who started eight games that year for an injured Alex Smith, could be “the best quarterback” he had ever coached, which included Warner, a regular season and Super Bowl MVP.
From 2008, 49ers offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, on starting QB, J.T. O’Sullivan:
“O'Sullivan sees the field like (Kurt) Warner & has the quick release of Marc Bulger. J.T. could be the best quarterback I’ve ever coached.”
J.T. started 8 games for the 49ers & went 2-6. pic.twitter.com/IYTzWT8hfD
— East Bay Chris (@EastBayChris) February 28, 2021
During that eight-game stint, O’Sullivan threw eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and it was the only of his four NFL seasons in which he started even a single contest.
Martz’s opinion surely must be heard and considered, but it shouldn’t necessarily be accepted as fact.