Poor grades for Chicago Bears in loss to 49ers

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Dec 6, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) carries the ball for the game winning 71 yard touchdown in front of Chicago Bears defensive back Chris Prosinski (31) during the overtime period at Soldier Field. The 49ers won 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

In their most frustrating loss of the season, the Chicago Bears looked flat and poorly prepared in a 26-20 overtime loss to the lowly San Francisco 49ers.

Coming into the game, the 5-6 Bears had every reason to be confident and fired-up for the home contest against the 3-8 49ers. The Bears were coming off a thrilling Thanksgiving win over the Green Bay Packers, and at 5-6 they were still in the hunt for one of the wild card spots in the NFC, and the schedule was (supposedly) easier in the last five weeks. A win here, combined with a little help from some other teams, and the Bears would be an even stronger candidate for a wild card berth.

To top it off, the 49ers were a putrid road team, posting an 0-5 record outside of San Francisco prior to the game against Chicago. Their defense had averaged 35 points allowed in road games, while the offense averaged scoring a measly two touchdowns in the same five games.

All signs pointed to a win for the Bears, and a comfortable win at that.

Dec 6, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, while the Bears’ defense played three-and-a-half quarters of fantastic football, the offense sputtered and stalled, allowing San Francisco to hang close until the Bears’ defense finally collapsed late in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Dec 6, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) makes a field goal in the first quarter of their game against San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have specialized in close losses this year – coming into the San Francisco game, four of the team’s six losses were by eight points or less – but this loss is by far the toughest to take. The Bears couldn’t tally enough points to outscore an inferior team playing with a sub-par starting quarterback and without its starting running back.

The loss means the Bears’ faint playoff hopes are gone. Let’s face it, the chance that this team was even in the playoff hunt is more attributable to the rampant parity that’s invaded the NFL this season rather than any collection of talent in Chicago. The defense is a combination of a couple decent players – Pernell McPhee, Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos (despite being juked by Blaine Gabbert, I’ll still list Amos here. It’s one bad play.) – and role players, special teamers and younger players like Jonathan Anderson and Kyle Fuller who lack consistency.

The offense, on the other hand, has some talent, but the offensive line is weak, and much of that talent – Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, Marquess Wilson, Jay Cutler and Kevin White – has missed games this year, eliminating any chance the team had of being able to create a string of mismatches on the field that Cutler and company could take advantage of.

So now that the surprisingly idea that the Bears might make the playoffs is pretty much gone, let’s move on to trying to ruin other teams’ seasons, starting Sunday with Washington.

Next: A Disappointing Showing