Despite controlling time of possession in the first half, the San Francisco 49ers offense could not get rolling and the defense collapsed in a 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Not even a quarterback change could create a spark. The 49ers extend their franchise-worst losing streak to 11 games.
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Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) forces a safety on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) during the fourth quarter of the game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears both started slowly — neither team completed a pass in the first quarter. The 49ers finally founds some life in the second quarter after a blocked punt and fumble recovery both led to field goals.
After that, it was Chicago all the way.
The Bears finally started putting the ball in the snowy air, and Matt Barkley had success. Rookie Jordan Howard ran for scores on three straight possessions and the 49ers found themselves down 21-6 just over halfway through the third quarter.
Colin Kaepernick did absolutely nothing on offense, completing one pass on five attempts for four yards. His offensive line wasn’t a huge help either and allowed the Bears defense to reach Blaine Gabbert for a sack and safety after Chip Kelly decided to make a change at quarterback.
Ultimately, this was another dismal performance from a lowly 49ers squad that continues to lay claim to the title of “Worst 49ers Team Ever.”
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) carries the ball against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Kaepernick followed up a promising game in Miami with an atrocious performance in snowy Chicago. Yes, the conditions were less than ideal. Yes, snow was falling the entire game. But this is no excuse for the 1-5 performance for -21 yards when sacks are included. Besides, remember Kaepernick’s game of glory against the Packers at Lambeau on a frigid January 5, 2014? Kap refused to wear sleeves or a glove that game, calling it more “mental” than anything. If that’s the case, his mind was surely in a bad place today.
After all, Kaepernick’s passer rating managed but grand total of 39.6.
Head coach Chip Kelly decided to switch to Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter in search of a spark. Gabbert didn’t play much better, underthrowing almost every pass. He didn’t have much tie to warm up, but he still did not play well. The safety he took may have been on the offensive line, but ideally he’d have found a way to be just outside of the end zone before getting hit.
Running Back: B
The first half was a Carlos Hyde show. Yet Hyde only managed 20 carries total on the day for 92 yards, thanks to the deficit the 49ers in which the found themselves in the second half. A 4.6 yards per carry average is more than respectable, especially when the defense knew what was coming every play.
Shaun Draughn added five carries for 20 yards.
Wide Receiver: Incomplete
This is the rare occasion in which I will use this grade. Normally I would try and find some way to evaluate the receivers, but when Kaepernick only threw five passes all game this simply cannot be done. Most of the throws from both Kaepernick and Gabbert were underthrown, making it tough to determine whether some drops were the receivers fault, the quarterbacks, or a mix of everything and the weather.
Jeremy Kerley did have a nice bobbling reception from Gabbert on his first throw of the game.
Tight End: C
While I am tempted to throw an “incomplete” in here as well, Vance McDonald did manage two receptions, though only for nine yards. Nothing special from the tight ends today, but they didn’t get much of a chance.
Offensive Line: D
Carlos Hyde did have a decent day on the ground, but there is no excuse for giving up six sacks and a safety. The offensive line has been a problem for the 49ers all season long. Sadly, it is still an improvement from a year ago.
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner (99) during the fourth quarter of the game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line: D
The defensive line stood stout for almost two quarters before the Bears found success in the passing game. After that, things opened up significantly all over the 49ers D.
While the 49ers gave up 117 yards to rookie Jordan Howard, he did have to run the ball 32 times to reach that mark.
The play of the game that best sums up the defensive line’s struggles would be that same Howard’s snowplow through half the 49ers defense for his third touchdown of the game.
See above for a description of the awful touchdown given up in the third quarter. The 49ers defense simply couldn’t hang around with the (pretty bad) Bears offense. Even before the late safety, the 49ers allowed the Bears to score the most point they’d managed all season. Their previous high was 23.
Defensive Back: D
The first Bears touchdown was set up by a very cheap pass interference call on Tramaine Brock. That bad call aside, the secondary allowed Matt Barkley to beat them on a day when the conditions should have made passing difficult. This is inexcusable.
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; The San Francisco 49ers celebrate after a recalled touchdown during the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Special Teams & Coaching Grades
Special Teams: C+
The special teams unit gets points for a punt block and return in the second quarter. It loses points for Dontae Johnson‘s needlessly stepping out of bounds when he had an easy touchdown. Oh, and for the penalty-drawing celebration afterwards that may have cost the 49ers any chance of reaching the end zone.
Don’t get me wrong, I love snow angels and think the NFL‘s rules on TD celebrations are as silly as the next guy, but at least don’t get penalized for celebrating a touchdown that never happened!
As always, Phil Dawson was reliable and Bradley Pinion was overused.
I do not understand why Kelly did not let Kaepernick try and do more through the air or with his legs. That being said, Kap’s inability to do, well, anything on offense lies squarely on his shoulders.
I did like the switch to Gabbert in the fourth quarter. It was worth a shot to see if bringing in Gabbert could somehow create a spark. The 49ers decision on who will start in Week 14 will certainly be watched closely.
Chip Kelly will be taking some time away from the 49ers after his father died on Friday. He coached on Sunday at the request of his mother’s wishes.
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Matt Barkley, right, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) shake hands after the game at Soldier Field. The Bears defeated the 49ers 26-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Cumulative 49ers Grade for Week 13: D-
The 49ers held the ball for two-thirds of the first half. This was the first time they were able to control time of possession in weeks, if not months. Yet they still managed to lose the ToP battle when the game game to a close.
The anemic offense once again cost the 49ers big time, while the defense, as usual, started strong before fading as the game wore on.