The Chicago Bears were thoroughly beaten down by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, losing 32-7. The 49ers shut down what little offense the Bears thought they had, led by LB Aldon Smith who registered five and a half sacks on QB Jason Campbell.
For once, the Bears defense looked completely inept facing 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, a second-year guy making his first start of the season. They forced zero turnovers and chauffeured the 49ers into 20 first half points, the most they have given up this season. The worst performance of all was by the offensive linemen, who were collapsing the pocket on Campbell even before the 49ers rushed in.
Let’s hand out some failing grades as the Bears fall out of first place in the NFC North.
Quarterback – F
Campbell was under pressure all night long, but couldn’t make anything happen even when he had time to throw (14-for-22, 107 yards). Two interceptions and a fumble in the end zone pretty much summed up his performance, despite one nice touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. Bears fans expected much more from their $3.5 million backup.
Wide Receivers – F
Once again Devin Hester and Earl Bennett failed to perform, combining to catch four passes for 29 yards. Fresh off of a hand injury, Alshon Jeffery looked ready to breathe some life into the offense before going down with another injury (knee). He could miss a majority of the remainder of the season. Brandon Marshall caught the only touchdown pass, but was otherwise shut down by the 49ers (two catches for 21 yards). Someone needs to step up when Marshall is being double and triple-teamed.
Running Backs – C-
Matt Forte received a bulk of the carries (21 rushes for 63 yards), but couldn’t break any big runs. The most disappointing part was that he only caught three passes for four total yards. He could have been utilized much more, since Campbell looked afraid to throw anything downfield. Michael Bush only touched the ball six times for 27 yards, but at least he didn’t fumble this week.
Tight Ends/Fullback – D-
Kellen Davis made two catches for 20 yards, but once again looked weak in the blocking game. Even so, offensive coordinator Mike Tice should have left him in to block more, since 49ers linemen Aldon Smith easily beat single blocks all night. Fullback Evan Rodriguez dropped once pass on a nice hit by the 49ers linebacker, but looks like a capable blocker for his size. Matt Spaeth didn’t do much all night, positive or negative. Something needs to change at the tight end position quickly.
Offensive Line – F-
Giving up five and a half sacks to one guy explains it all. Gabe Carimi fell on his butt all night and J’Marcus Webb was a revolving door once again. How does Roberto Garza play next to these guys without teaching them a thing or two?
Defensive Line – D+
This was probably the worst game of the season for this group, which makes it an average, at best, night for most. They recorded only one sack, while allowing big run after big run early in the game. They stiffened up towards the end, but the damage was already done. With little pressure on him all night, Kaepernick tore up the Bears defense with short and medium passes leading to many first downs.
Linebackers – D
Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs missed too many tackles and were blown up by 49er fullbacks and linemen all night. These two are better than this, letting a few trick plays fool them. Briggs and Nick Roach combined on a nice sack in the second quarter.
Secondary – F
You know they had to have a stinker eventually. This one was it. Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Chris Conte and Major Wright combine for zero takeaways, one pass deflection and 25 tackles. That means too many receivers were making catches downfield and 49ers RB Frank Gore was gaining lots of yards. We will have to hope this game was an anomaly against a type of quarterback they haven’t seen before. Nonetheless, they are much better than how they played.
Special Teams – D
It may be time to consider the fact that Devin Hester is the best returner of all time, but that means nothing if the 10 other guys on the field can’t block for him. Sure, returning a punt negative nine yards is bad, but the blocking was worse.
Adam Podlesh may have saved his job, averaging 46.8 yards per punt (43.0 net yards per punt). It’s not great, by any means, but he was averaging less than 38 net yards per punt coming into the game. Take your victories when you can get them, no matter how small.
Coaching – F
Tice needs help. A lot of help. The man just doesn’t know how to make adjustments and get creative. The biggest problems I saw were that he wasn’t leaving tight ends in to block very often, and the Bears offense grossly lacked short screens and slants. If Lovie Smith was a little less passive, I would have hoped that he could do something to figure out this offense. However, we all know how he is … and I don’t want to hear people saying that he can’t help because he is “defensive-minded.” If that’s the case demote him to defensive coordinator already. The 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is better than every coach on the Bears sideline.
Overall – F