Week 1 of the 2019 regular season was a game Chicago Bears fans likely remember very well.
The Bears lost their 2019 season opener at Soldier Field to longtime rivals the Green Bay Packers in prime time, 10-3. It was a game in which the Bears defense managed to hold the Packers’ offense to 47 yards rushing while also keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers to just one touchdown pass — but the Bears couldn’t muster anything more than a field goal over four quarters.
Former Bears starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggled, completing 26 of 45 passes for 228 yards and an interception, finishing with a rating of 62.1. Trubisky was sacked five times in the loss and his interception came in the final two minutes, killing a potential touchdown drive.
After the game, ex-Packers defensive back Tramon Williams gave the following brutal assessment of Trubisky, via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic: “We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback. We knew they had a lot of weapons, we knew they were dangerous, we knew all of those things. But we knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, that we’d have a chance.”
Three years later, it’s a Bears player saying a strikingly similar thing about San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance.
Jaylon Johnson on Trey Lance: ‘We Made Him Play Quarterback’
Unlike back in 2019, Chicago won its season opener this year, handing the 49ers a 19-10 upset loss at Soldier Field Week 1. It was a slugfest in the rain, but the Bears and second-year quarterback Justin Fields made fewer mistakes and took home the ‘W.’
Both young QBs struggled, with Lance finishing 13-28 for 164 yards and an interception (50.3 rating, 54 yards rushing), while Fields completed eight of 17 passes for 121 yards, two TDs and an interception(85.7 rating, 28 yards rushing).
Lance, like Fields, is a dual threat, and can hurt teams with his legs if he gets into the open field, but Johnson says part of Chicago’s game plan was to make Lance throw the ball — and his comments were eerily similar to those Williams made about Trubisky:
“We made him play quarterback,” Johnson said about Lance, according to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic. “We know he hurt us in the run game with his feet. Everybody knows that at some point he’s going to run and make a play. But I thought we had to really make him play quarterback. … He’s still learning. He’s still a young guy. I think he’ll end up being a good player for them. It’s early. He has to go through it, really. I felt like we did exactly what I said we were going to do: make him prove himself as a quarterback.”
Veteran safety Eddie Jackson’s intercepted Lance with 9:52 remaining in the game, and it led to one final touchdown for Chicago, who gave first-time head coach Matt Eberflus the first win of his career.