- The 49ers came out with a conservative offensive game plan with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. It was mostly dump offs and runs for much of the game with very little downfield until the game winner.
- The 49ers had a tough time moving the ball in the first quarter and, in particular, did a poor job of running the ball. They did a better job starting in the second quarter by going up temp and executing a little better. Shaun Draughn did a particularly nice job of running the ball.
- The 49er game plan did a particularly good job of taking advantage of the Bears lack of speed at linebacker. Time after time Gabbert would dump the ball off to a back coming out of the backfield that had managed to get good separation from the linebacker who was covering him.
- Gabbert wasn’t as accurate as I was led to believe he’s been in previous games. But he did a surprisingly good job of gashing the Bears with his mobility.
- As with the Packers game on Thanksgiving, the coverage by the defensive backs was generally excellent today. I thought Kyle Fuller did a particularly good job.
- The Bears only rushed four for most of this game and to my eye had a tough time getting pressure on Gabbert. Having said that, Willie Young had a good day with a sack and a half.
- The Bears came out running the ball and generally did a good job of it. The offensive line did a nice job of blocking the 49ers and moving them at the line of scrimmage, especially early. They also recommitted to the running game after halftime with some success. The Bears will always have a good chance if they can run the ball.
- Jay Cutler was unusually erratic with his throws downfield today. As usual, he saw some pressure.
- The 49ers did some damage with well-timed blitzes against both the run and the pass. The first 49er touchdown on a pick six from Cutler comes to mind immediately. The 49ers tricked Cutler into audibling into a quick pass to the outside by bringing a blitz. It was a very nice job by the 49er defense, which obviously anticipated that Cutler would do this based upon film study.
- The Bears game plan for the running backs was interesting. Tehy split both Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford wide and frequently went to an empty set with them on the field. This forced the 49ers to respond with a defensive alignment that respected the run with the Bears in a passing formation. This is something we’ve seen on occasion befor but I don’t remember them ever doing it this much.
- Matt Forte had a particularly good game. Sometimes he just wouldn’t go down. His touchdown run early in the second quarter where he literally dragged the defense from the line of scrimmage into the end zone comes to mind as a good example.
- Also, let’s give Ka’Deem Carey some love. The guy runs extremely hard.
- Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Laura Okmin did a nice job. Johnston, in particular, peppered the game with timely and insightful comments that we don’t see often enough from many other color men around the league outside of prime games.
- Robbie Gould missed a 40 yard field goal in the third quarter that the Bears could have really needed with the game tied at 13. It’s worth noting that the game was tied at 13 because the 49ers missed an extra point. Not a great game for the special teams until Deonte Thompson ran the ball back into field goal range with 1:32 remaining in the regulation. And of course, that was followed by another missed field goal. Robbie Gould is having an off year. Part of it may be losing Patrick Mannelly. They had yet another new long snapper this week. On the punt late in the second quarter that eventually went through the back of the endzone, someone will have to explain to me what Tracy Porter thought he was doing when he touched that ball.
- The Bears committed far too many penalties in this game (8 badly timed penalties for 75 yards). Time after time they would have a good, productive offensive play only to have it called back for a penalty. They can’t play a ball control offense and set themselves back like this. A hold on LaRoy Reynolds early in the game on a punt return was also particularly egregious as it took a Bryce Callahan touchdown off the board.
- Jeremy Langford has had a drop in each of the last three games. He’s got to do better than that, especially with the Bears splitting him out as a wide receiver.
- The Bears dominated the first quarter in this game but left the 49ers in it by giving up the pick as noted above under “Offense”. They have a narrow margin for error and need to avoid mistakes of that type more than most teams. Perhaps someone needs to give Cutler more options and/or remind him not to audible to that play so often to keep the defense guessing.
- This was a frustrating game to watch. The Bears were the better team on the field as they dominated the time of possession but, for the first time all year, time after time they shot themselves in the foot with sloppy play, especially penalties. Could it have been a let down coming off of the victory at Green Bay followed by a long 11 day break? I don’t know. But I do hope we don’t see this again and that the team gets back to the kind of play that has been their trademark for most of this season.