Instant Replay: 49ers plowed by Bears, skid reaches 11

Instant Replay: 49ers plowed by Bears, skid reaches 11


CHICAG0 – Just when the 49ers’ offense started to look as if it was warming up in Florida, things got cold in a hurry.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ passing game put together one of the most anemic showings in 49ers franchise history on Sunday in a 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on a snowy day at Soldier Field.

Kaepernick completed just one of five pass attempts for 4 yards. He was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards to give the 49ers minus-21 net yards passing in his three quarters of action.

With more than 12 minutes remaining and the 49ers trailing by 18 points, coach Chip Kelly benched Kaepernick and inserted Blaine Gabbert.

On Gabbert’s first play, he completed an 18-yard pass to receiver Jeremy Kerley. Gabbert, who started the 49ers first five games of the season, ended up with four completions in 10 attempts for 35 yards.

The 49ers entered the game with their franchise-worst game in passing at minus-10 yards, when Bob Waters and Lamar McHan combined for 63 yards passing against the Detroit Lions in 1963. The 49ers gave up 73 yards in sacks to account for the negative yardage.

The 49ers (1-11) extended their franchise-worst losing streak to 11 games against a Bears team that improves to 3-9 despite 15 players being on injured reserve. That list does not include quarterback Jay Cutler, who remains on the roster despite a season-ending shoulder injury.

The 49ers’ utter futility in the passing game was reminiscent of a 2005 trip the 49ers made to Soldier Field. Unlike Sunday, that game was howling wind that featured gusts up to 47 mph. On that day, Cody Pickett completed just one of his 13 pass attempts for 28 yards.

Neither Kaepernick nor Bears quarterback Matt Barkley completed a pass in the first quarter. Barkley was 0 for 2, while Kaepernick was 0 for 1. Kaepernick was also sacked two times for minus-18 yards.

It was the first NFL game since a New York Jets-New England game in 1988 that did not have a completed pass in the first quarter, according to Elias Sports.

The 49ers concluded the first quarter with 11 consecutive run plays. When Kaepernick finally completed a pass – a shovel pass to Shaun Draughn for 15 yards – it was nullified by right guard Joshua Garnett’s holding penalty. He later found tight end Vance McDonald on a 4-yard pass.

The fact that both teams did not even try to throw was a bit perplexing consider there was absolutely no wind and the snow did not pick up until halftime.

Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. The team practiced in mid-80s temperatures in Orlando, Fla., before traveling north to near freezing conditions in Chicago.

The Bears finally began to open up their offense after the 49ers took a 6-0 lead late in the first half. Barkley completed three of four attempts for 64 yards and benefitted from a questionable pass-interference penalty on Tramaine Brock in the end zone.

Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard punched it in from 1-yard out with 35 seconds remaining in the half to give Chicago a 7-6 lead after 30 minutes.

While the 49ers continued to stumble around, the Bears figured out that the conditions did not prevent them from incorporating the pass into their offense. Chicago scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half. They capped drives of 75 and 59 yards with Howard’s touchdown runs of 2 and 5 yards to take a 21-6 lead.

After his rough start, Barkley ended up having a fair amount of success against the 49ers. He ended up completing 11 passes for 192 yards. Barkley, who spent his first two NFL seasons as a reserve on Kelly’s team with the Philadelphia Eagles, made his second career start.

Premature celebration
Rookie Rashard Robinson celebrated Dontae Johnson’s blocked field-goal return for a touchdown with a snow angel (after Johnson did one first). There was only one problem: Johnson did not score a touchdown.

Johnson picked up the ball after Shaun Draughn broke through to block Pat O’Donnell’s punt. Johnson returned the ball 25 yards but was pushed out at the 4-yard line. Robinson thought Johnson scored and celebrated.

Robinson’s 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct pushed the 49ers’ offense back to the 19-yard line. After going nowhere in three plays, kicker Phil Dawson booted a 31-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 3-0 lead in the middle of the second quarter.

This ‘n’ that
--The 49ers’ field goals in the first half were set up by special teams. After Draughn’s blocked punt and Johnson’s return, it was Jimmie Ward who stepped up with a big play. Ward stripped Chicago kickoff return man Deonte Thompson and recovered at the Bears’ 37.

Dawson, who earlier hit a 31-yard field goal, made a 28-yard kick to give the 49ers a short-lived 6-0 lead with 1:56 remaining in the first half.

--Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch misseed his fifth consecutive game with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in just three games this season. He served a four-game suspension to begin the season for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse. He was injured late in the 49ers’ Oct. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next week was the 49ers’ bye week. Eli Harold will start in place of Lynch for the ninth time this season.

--Wide receiver Quinton Patton was cleared to return to action after sustaining a concussion last week. The 49ers had six wide receivers active for the game: Patton, Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, Aaron Burbridge, and Chris Harper.

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.