We knew the 49ers were probably going to be the toughest test for the Bears this season. Of course, we’re talking about the road to the first overall pick. San Francisco had lost ten straight coming into this game while the Bears had only lost a measly six of their last seven. I’ll just come out and say it…the Bears took the 49ers lightly. They weren’t prepared to match this level of bad.
In the first quarter they hung in pretty tough. Both teams didn’t complete a pass, which hasn’t happened in the NFL since 1988. They only threw the ball three times combined. It was a statement by both teams that they were indeed ready to lose. The turning point of the game was clearly the blocked punt. You have to give credit to the 49ers special teams on such a well coordinated effort to stay out of the endzone. After the Bears did a good job to let them block the punt, the 49ers caught the ball and returned it. Not only did the returner step out of bounds, but they received an excessive celebration penalty…on a play that wasn’t a touchdown. It was pure tanking bliss. San Fran took the Bears to school on that play.
I also have to call out the selfish players who weren’t on board today. Matt Barkley should’ve thrown at least three interceptions. California kid who’s seen snow like four times in his life and hasn’t played more than five seconds in the NFL. He had all the excuses lined up perfectly. But no, he was clearly thinking about his future today, not the team’s. I put less blame on Jordan Howard. It’s hard to act like the 49ers don’t have the worst run defense this league has ever seen.
The Bears defense may be the most at fault here. This group couldn’t throw their pride aside today. It’s very easy to fall back on the Kaepernick read option narrative. Every time he finds some success in the NFL it’s because teams forget how to defend that play. The Bears could’ve just rolled over and fallen into that narrative. Again, this is just a selfish team. Now the Bears are two games behind the 49ers and they own the tiebreaker. Sunday couldn’t have gone worse.