The Chicago Bears pulled off a sizable upset in Week 1 over the visiting San Francisco 49ers. The two teams were thought to be on opposite sides of the spectrum coming into the season as the Bears are in a rebuild and the 49ers are expected to contend for a championship.
In the season opener, the gap didn’t look as big as many thought it to be. On a sloppy afternoon on a flooded field, it was Chicago who did enough to get the 19-10 victory. They took advantage of San Francisco missing a few key pieces and made the most of it.
Their defense deserves a lot of credit for turning the 49ers into a one-dimensional team. The Bears came into the game with a clear-cut plan on how to get a victory and they executed it to perfection. They wanted to make Trey Lance beat them with his arm and he was unable to do so.
Not having tight end George Kittle in the lineup certainly didn’t help and the conditions were brutal to play in. Lance went 13-of-28 for 164 yards and one interception, which played right into the Bears’ hands.
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson revealed after the game what the Bears wanted to do and they succeeded. They knew Lance was dangerous with his legs and wanted to minimize that risk by making him air it out in less-than-ideal conditions.
“What you think he did? He ain’t do shit,” Johnson said of Lance, via NBCSportsChicago.com. “We made him play quarterback. We know he hurt us in the run game with his feet, and everybody knows at some point he’s going to run and make a play. But I feel like we had to really make him play quarterback. Like I said, he’s still a young guy and I think he’ll end up being a good player for them. But it’s early. He has to go through it. I feel like we did exactly what I said we would. Make him prove himself as a quarterback.”
San Francisco is certainly confident that Lance can become just as dangerous throwing the ball as he is running it, otherwise they wouldn’t have traded three first-round picks to move up to the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire him. He needs some game experience at this point as he hasn’t played much football in the last two years.
There will likely be more defenses that game plan in a similar fashion to Chicago as teams will dare Lance to beat them with his arm. Now without starting running back Elijah Mitchell potentially for two months, it is even more important that Lance gets going through the air for the 49ers to find success.