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Bears vs. 49ers: Notes from yet another embarrassing loss

The Bears lose. Wash, rinse, repeat.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky was hardly given any opportunity to send the ball downfield.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears lost. Crazy, right?

This time, though, it actually was crazy. In a nail-biter against the San Francisco 49ers, the Monsters of the Midway managed to hold the lead until there were four seconds left in the game. A game-winning field goal saw the Bears fall to 3-9. Here are a few of my notes from watching the game.

  • The 49ers had a very good first drive. Jimmy Garoppolo looked good, and their run game had its fair share of solid plays. Part of this was due to Chicago’s inability to generate pressure off the edge. Garoppolo had a clean pocket on pretty much every passing play. Although they were able to shut down San Francisco’s offense in the red zone, allowing points on the opening drive is never ideal, especially considering how bad the Bears have been on opening drives this season.
  • Speaking of being bad on opening drives, how about that run-run-pass sequence to start the game off for the Bears? Sure haven’t seen that before...
  • Kyle Fuller didn’t have an interception until today, but what an interception it was. It appeared that Louis Murphy had caught the ball, but Fuller was able to snatch it from him right before he hit the ground.
  • Although he has had some down games, he has had the best season of his career this season. Re-signing him should be a priority for the Bears this offseason.
  • It was mentioned on the CBS commentary, and it was mentioned on Twitter by multiple Bears beat writers. When Elvis Dumervil jumped offsides, why didn’t Mitch Trubisky go for a deep pass? You have nothing to lose in that situation, because you at least get an extra five yards. Instead, he decided to go for a short pass to a tightly-covered Daniel Brown. Those rookie mistakes are to be expected from Trubisky, because, well, he’s a rookie, but he’s going to need to pick up on those little things in the future.
  • I know our own Patti Curl is happy with that Kendall Wright slant for a first down in the first quarter.
  • Dontrelle Inman excels on slant routes and in routes. This was made especially evident on his eight-yard touchdown reception. He’s the Bears’ biggest and most physical receiver on the active roster, so it’s smart to use him as the main target on plays that typically result in tight throwing windows.
  • Outside of his interception - which wasn’t completely his fault - Garoppolo looked fantastic on Sunday. He made a lot of very good decisions, flashed good athleticism in and out of the pocket, and he looked comfortable throwing the ball down field. He managed to do a lot with very little, which places him in a similar situation to Trubisky. The 49ers should make it a priority to surround him with more weapons this offseason.
  • If Jordan Howard wants to maximize his value with the Bears, he should definitely work on his hands. He has made a lot of drops, some of which having had a big impact on the result of a game. He’s one of the better running backs in the league, but he’ll have to become more versatile to take that next step.
  • The Bears made that challenge why, exactly? Trubisky was clearly short of the first down marker. In a close game like this one, you can’t afford to risk wasting time outs on trivial challenges like that.
  • Welcome back to the Bears, Lamarr Houston. He ended up getting a sack in his first game back with the team after being signed on Thursday. And this time, he didn’t tear his ACL after celebrating the sack. That’s great.
  • When I saw Tarik Cohen run backwards on a punt return, I immediately started worrying that one of the 49ers’ special teamers would bring him down. But, much to my surprise, he outran all of them and ended up running it back 61 yards for a touchdown.
  • Cohen has had a handful of bad mistakes on special teams this year, but this play is proof that, if he cuts down on those mistakes, he can be a phenomenal return man. He has the speed and shiftiness to be a threat on any play.
  • In addition to his interception, Kyle Fuller also made a fantastic stop in the run game. Carlos Hyde tried to run outside on a second-down play, but Fuller was there to stuff him at the line of scrimmage.
  • Chicago’s run defense was very good in the first half. They gave up 53 yards on 16 carries, 14 of them coming on one Carlos Hyde run. Their pass defense, though, wasn’t nearly as good. Garoppolo went 15-for-22 for 172 passing yards in the first half and threw six passes that ended up in a gain of 15 or more yards.
  • George Kittle made a phenomenal catch in the end zone in double coverage, but he was unable to get both feet down. The Bears got incredibly lucky on that play.
  • Chicago’s defense was good enough to not allow any touchdowns in the first half, but they weren’t good to keep San Francisco’s offense off the field. The 49ers had the ball for 20 minutes and 54 seconds in the first half, whereas the Bears only had it for nine minutes and six seconds. If Chicago could have shut the 49ers’ offense down and forced them to punt more - Bradley Pinion only punted once in the first two quarters - then they would be winning by a much bigger score than 14-9.
  • I think that, at this point in the season, we as Bears fans really take Mitch Trubisky for granted. Sure, he hasn’t exactly been lighting the NFL on fire, but he has gotten out of a lot of potential sacks this season. Mike Glennon certainly wouldn’t be able to get out of a majority of the close calls that Trubisky has.
  • Robbie Gould truly was Good as Gould on Sunday. The former Bears made all five of his field goal attempts, including a game winner.
  • The Bears got very lucky that nobody on the 49ers found the ball on the strip sack by Cassius Marsh. The edge rusher was left completely unblocked, and Trubisky didn’t see him coming.
  • The ball fell out of the rookie’s hands, but he was fortunately able to recover it.
  • Chicago has had relative success on blitzes in recent weeks. Christian Jones picked up his second sack in the past three weeks on Sunday, and Nick Kwiatkoski has had two sacks in the past four games. Danny Trevathan was also an effective blitzer before his injury against the New Orleans Saints.
  • Tarik. Cohen. Is. A. Stud. Had it done been for an illegal block in the back by Ben Braunecker, then Cohen would have had a 76-yard punt return.
  • Although the play won’t count in the stat books, it’s definitely an encouraging sign to see him succeeded on special teams.
  • Hey, Dowell Loggains. If you’re reading this, then why did you call for a screen pass to Jordan Howard on second down?
  • The Bears held a lead for the entire game until late in the fourth quarter, but if you removed the scoreboard from the bottom of the broadcast, then you wouldn’t have hd a clue. Chicago’s defense failed to get San Francisco’s offense off the field, and their offense failed to stay on the field. Simply put, the 49ers were the better team this week. It’s a miracle the Bears held the ball as long as they did.
  • A Robbie Gould field goal gives the Bears the loss. How poetic.
  • "Did we really just lose to the 49ers?" This quote from my brother perfectly sums up this season for the Bears.
  • Why haven’t the Bears played Adam Shaheen more? They were on the right track when Dion Sims missed time with an illness, but he fell right into obscurity once the veteran returned. Back in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions, Shaheen played 46 snaps. In the past two weeks, he has only played only 26 snaps; only nine of which being from this Sunday. This late in the season, the Bears are done for. Although it should’ve been done a while ago, now’s the time to start giving your young guys some more playing time. Shaheen isn’t going to get much better until he gets more playing time.
  • Can this Bears team even beat the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve? I honestly hesitate to say that they can. This coaching staff, overall, is worse than the coaching staff assembled under Marc Trestman. And that’s saying something.
  • This is an open call to any of my fellow WCG writers. Do you guys want to take this series over for the rest of the season? As of a result of doing these notes, I don’t think I’ve actually been happy in months. This is a cry for help.
  • Chicago’s negligence of throwing the ball downfield played a major factor in their offense’s inability to keep possession. Trubisky averaged 6.8 yards per completion this week, which is simply unacceptable. I get that the Bears don’t have great weapons, but this coaching staff has emphasized this fact so much to the point that they simply refuse to make big plays. I would rather have this coaching staff call deep passes and have them not work then have the staff be too afraid to even give it a chance.
  • At least we get a higher draft pick this way.