The Niners’ Week 11 win puts them 1.5 games ahead of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. San Francisco has six days to prepare for the New Orleans Saints, who have won five of their last six games. The Bears fall to second place in the NFC North and have a brief time to lick their wounds before hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
QB controversy brewing in SF?
Colin Kaepernick completed seven of his first eight throws, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in the first quarter, and never looked back. Kaepernick, who made the first start of his career because Alex Smith was still suffering from concussion-like symptoms, looked like a polished pro against one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses. The Niners’ second-year QB had the freedom to make adjustments at the line and got in rhythm early and finished the game completing 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and 2 TDs.
Niners defense is the gold standard
The San Francisco defense tends to expose opponent’s flaws. It did that Monday night, and against the team that sports the NFL’s most talked-about defense entering the game. Linebackers NaVorro Bowman, who had a team high 12 tackles, and Patrick Willis continued to make their presence felt as they led a 49ers effort that held Chicago to six three-and-outs. Niners defensive end Aldon Smith put Jason Campbell under constant duress, sacking the Bears QB 4.5 times.
Niners have some playmakers
San Francisco spent some draft picks (A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James) and big-time money in free agency to acquire some talented wide receivers and running backs (Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Brandon Jacobs). But it’s the talent the 49ers have had for years paying the biggest dividends right now. Tight end Vernon Davis continues to be a legit weapon and fourth-year receiver Michael Crabtree has elevated his game and is on pace to statistically have best season of his career. Crabtree, who hauled in another TD on Monday, leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns (tied with Frank Gore).
The Bears need Jay Cutler back … fast
How valuable is Cutler to the Bears offense? Offensive coordinator Mike Tice found out in the first half on Monday night as the offense was only able to muster 35 yards before intermission. Jason Campbell had an admirable performance in a Week 10 loss against the Houston Texans after replacing Cutler, but he could not do the same against the 49ers. While being under pressure much of the night doesn’t help, the veteran QB struggled with accuracy issues and decision-making errors all night.