49ers overreactions: Is brutal Week 1 loss to Bears cause for panic?

·5 min read

49ers overreactions: Is Week 1 loss to Bears cause for panic? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers rolled into Chicago as a touchdown favorite against a team that was expected to be among the worst in the NFL.

The 49ers sloshed around for three hours and one minute, then returned to the Bay Area with an alarming 19-10 loss to the Bears in Week 1 of the regular season.

Do you want to react?

Do you want to overreact?

Well, you came to the right place . . .

Overreaction? Yes.

This is a projection for the season, so it will play out over the course of time. But the offensive line played well enough to win on Sunday against the Bears.

That noted, it was a little surprising that the team’s pass-protection and run-blocking got the kind of favorable grades that Pro Football Focus assigned after Week 1.

The 49ers graded out No. 1 in the NFL in pass-blocking and No. 5 with their run-blocking.

Frankly, these eyes thought the line was OK. But it was very shocking to see PFF think so highly of the 49ers’ O-line.

However, those grades provide some perspective of what’s going on around the NFL, where it seems every fan base complains about their team’s offensive line.

Also, if Trey Lance had made some of the throws that were available, starting with the deep ball in which he missed an open Tyler Kroft, nobody would be talking about the O-line not giving Lance a chance.

Overreaction? No and yes.

The 49ers have drafted offensive linemen.

Their current offensive line consists of the highest-paid tackle in the league (Trent Williams), another first-rounder (Mike McGlinchey), a second-rounder (Aaron Banks) and a fourth-round rookie (Spencer Burford).

Another offensive lineman who started every game the past two seasons (Daniel Brunskill) is working his way back from a hamstring injury.

The 49ers drafted four offensive linemen over the past two drafts. Jaylon Moore or Colton McKivitz could be in line next year to take over if McGlinchey leaves as a free agent.

And the 49ers think sixth-rounder Nick Zakelj has a chance to eventually become a starting center.

Yes, the 49ers are not going to stop drafting offensive linemen. But they probably won’t be investing a first-round pick in the position until at least 2024.

After all, the 49ers traded away their first-round selections through 2023 in order to move up for Lance.

Overreaction? Yes.

The 49ers have to ride it out with Lance for a while. As long as he is seeing things clearly and making the right decisions, coach Kyle Shanahan is likely to give him time to develop.

As Lance gets more comfortable with the offense, reading defenses and getting more decisive, the physical part of the job should improve, too.

Jimmy Garoppolo did not practice during training camp. He really has not done much on-field work with the 49ers’ offense. Garoppolo probably does not require a bunch of work to get ready, but he is not in a position where he can step off the sideline and immediately be in midseason form.

Overreaction? No.

Lance made some throws that we have not seen in a while. With Lance, the 49ers become more of a threat to attack down the field.

But, as we saw during training camp, he must get more consistent on the high-percentage passes.

Despite what they showed during Week 1, the 49ers have a solid team around Lance.

And, yes, the expectation is that Lance will become a playoff-caliber quarterback.

Overreaction? Yes and no.

The only difference I saw in how the offense approached the fourth quarter was that the team was trailing, the weather turned brutal, and the plays simply were not working.

But there is no question the 49ers have experienced difficulty holding onto second-half leads in some big moments, such as the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship Game.

It’s not just the offense, either. The defense has failed in critical times, too.

Overreaction? No.

The 49ers’ defense was their own worst enemy against the Bears.

Chicago scored three touchdowns in the game, and each was made possible by a critical 49ers penalty that provided the Bears with a first down to prolong drives.

Dre Greenlaw was called for a face mask, Azeez Al-Shaair had an unnecessary roughness infraction, and Charvarius Ward and Javon Kinlaw were flagged for critical defensive holding penalties.

The 49ers had a couple of blown assignments and complete breakdowns in the defensive backfield, and the Bears made them pay.

Overreaction? No.

We’re not going to cut the 49ers any slack for this loss. The Bears were playing in the same conditions, but they committed only three penalties for 24 yards.

It certainly is not fair to fully judge either quarterback as if the game was played in fine weather and on a fast track.

RELATED: How PFF graded Lance, O-line in 49ers' Week 1 loss to Bears

Oh, by the way, the extended forecast calls for 36-percent chance of showers Sunday morning in Santa Clara.

The conditions cannot be worse than they were in Chicago on Sunday, so the Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium should give us all a better idea of what we're watching.

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