The Washington Post

Lance struggles in the rain in Chicago

- BY JAY COHEN

BEARS 19,

49ERS 10

CHICAGO — Trey Lance got the keys to San Francisco’s offense in July. When it comes to driving in the rain, well, that still needs some work.

With Jimmy Garoppolo watching from the sideline, Lance and San Francisco were shut down by the Chicago Bears in a 19-10 loss on Sunday. Lance threw a costly intercepti­on in his third career start, and the 49ers hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 99 yards on a rainy afternoon at Soldier Field.

“Just too many mistakes I still have to clean up, for sure, for me,” Lance said. “But, man, excited. Still got my head up. Excited to get ready to go next week.”

Lance was named the starter at the beginning of training camp after Garoppolo directed San Francisco to the NFC championsh­ip last season. The 22-year-old quarterbac­k appeared in six games as a rookie after he was selected by the 49ers with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft.

San Francisco tried to trade Garoppolo in the offseason but ended up keeping him around as the backup under a reworked contract.

The decision to go with Lance — along with the continued presence of Garoppolo — probably will follow the team around all season long. Lance showed why the 49ers made the move in the opener, making a couple of nice throws and rushing for a team-high 54 yards, but it also looks as if there are going to be growing pains.

“Just frustrated a little bit. Feel like I’m a little better than that,” Lance said.

Lance and San Francisco played without star tight end George Kittle, who was inactive because of a groin injury. Then running back Elijah Mitchell left in the first half with a knee injury.

Deebo Samuel’s six-yard touchdown run helped San Francisco build a 10-0 lead. But the 49ers also wasted a prime scoring opportunit­y when Samuel fumbled deep in Chicago territory on the team’s first drive of the game.

Chicago got on the board when Justin Fields passed to a wideopen Dante Pettis and the wide receiver made his way to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown with 5:32 left in the third.

After Chicago jumped in front on another Fields touchdown pass, Lance was intercepte­d by Eddie Jackson on San Francisco’s first drive of the fourth. The Bears turned the miscue into Khalil Herbert’s three-yard touchdown run and a 19-10 lead with 7:21 to go.

“I’m disappoint­ed about some of the silly mistakes we did to [ourselves],” 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s not just our young guys. It’s veterans that have done a lot of good things for us. It’s the whole team that needs to clean that stuff up to have a chance to do what we want to do.”

With the rain picking up again at the end of the fourth, Lance and the 49ers were shut out the rest of the way. Lance connected on 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards on the day.

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