49ers report card: Grades for offense, defense in 14-9 loss to Bears

49ers report card: Grades for offense, defense in 14-9 loss to Bears

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers held the Bears to their lowest point output of the season Sunday, but it wasn't enough as the Chicago defense forced San Francisco to match its season-low point total.

The 49ers’ two-game win streak came to an end, and they were unable to secure their first winning record at Levi’s Stadium with a 14-9 loss to the NFC North champions.

Here’s the report card from the 49ers’ Week 16 loss to Chicago:

Rushing offense

The 49ers couldn't get anything going on the ground after Matt Breida exited in the first half with another aggravation of his ankle injury. Jeff Wilson entered and carried 11 times for just 27 yards.

The 49ers picked up just four first downs on the ground while averaging 3.1 yards per rushing attempt.

Grade: D

Passing offense

The 49ers ended up attempting 38 passes, and Nick Mullens was sacked only once for 9 yards. But the Bears’ pass rush had a major impact on the game, as it prevented the 49ers from throwing the ball down the field.

Mullens' only interception came on a first-and-10 throw from the Chicago 20 in the fourth quarter. He led Marquise Goodwin too much, but Goodwin still should have caught the ball. Instead, the deflection led to a critical interception.

Grade: D

Rushing defense

The 49ers generally did a solid job against the run, as the Bears did not have a running play for 10 or more yards all game. Jordan Howard had a touchdown run, and Mitchell Trubisky picked up a fourth-down conversion in the fourth quarter with a sneak, but the Bears averaged just 3.2 yards per rushing attempt.

The 49ers also came up with their first turnover since Oct. 28 when DeForest Buckner recovered a fumbled lateral in the first half.

Grade: B

Passing defense

Trubisky quietly had a solid performance, as he completed 25 of 29 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. The Bears kept the 49ers off-balance with a variety of movement plays to get Trubisky out of the pocket. Cassius Marsh recorded two sacks, and DeForest Buckner added one.

Tarvarius Moore had an up-and-down day, but he did give the 49ers' offense one final chance when he stripped receiver Allen Robinson at the end of a play in which it appeared the Bears had clinched the game with a first down after the two-minute warning.

Grade: D-plus

Special teams

Robbie Gould was perfect on all three of his field-goal attempts. What’s new? He made kicks of 33, 30 and 23 yards.

Punter Bradley Pinion had a nice game, as he punted four times and did not allow explosive Bears return man Tarik Cohen any opportunities. Pinion’s net average was 45.3 yards

Grade: A-minus


This was the kind of game the 49ers were expecting, but they did not take advantage of their opportunities to win the game.

The Bears’ offense was well-designed and found the holes in the 49ers’ zone defense. Chicago was particularly creative after getting inside the red zone.

The 49ers' offensive troubles really began when they got close to the goal line. Although the 49ers converted 50 percent of their third-down opportunities, the offense again bogged down in the red zone and didn't score a touchdown in the game.

The Bears are the NFC North champs, and the 49ers have to feel like they let one slip away.

Grade: C-minus

NFL draft: Five players 49ers can target as Day 2 options on offense, defense


NFL draft: Five players 49ers can target as Day 2 options on offense, defense

The national TV audience will begin to evaporate and the names called will not be as familiar, but Friday will be every bit as important as Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“Everybody talks about the first round, but this draft is all about the second, third and fourth rounds,” an NFL West Coast scout told NBC Sports Bay Area.

The depth of this year’s draft makes every team’s selections on Day 2 potentially just as important and impactful as those chosen in the first round.

The 49ers own four picks within the top 104 selections. General manager John Lynch is set to pick at No. 2. After that, the 49ers have scheduled selections at Nos. 36 (second round), 67 (third round) and 104 (fourth round).

Here are some options for the 49ers on Day 2 of the NFL draft:

WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

There is something about Samuel’s movements, patience and ability to separate quickly versus man coverage that would seem to be attractive for coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers struggled mightily in the red zone the past two seasons, and Samuel would give the team a boost in that area.

After the 49ers spent a week with him at the Senior Bowl, Samuel was provided a plane ticket to also meet with the 49ers in Santa Clara. New receivers coach Wes Welker had not joined the staff when the club was in Mobile, so Welker was able to spend some quality time with Samuel in the Bay Area.

The 49ers’ pick at No. 36 would be a logical spot at which to target Samuel.

WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

Butler is massive. He is 6-5, 227 pounds. He is a wide receiver. And the first reaction is that he looks like a formidable red zone target. But Shanahan has never liked the randomness and low-percentage nature of the fade route or jump ball near the end zone.

The question with Butler is much the same as the question with N’Keal Harry of Arizona State. Can he regularly and routinely find separation against bigger, faster, stronger, more-skilled NFL cornerbacks?

Butler should be among a group of wide receivers that fly off the board in rapid-fire succession on the second day of the draft.

S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Different teams might view him in different ways. And for the 49ers, that kind of versatility is certainly not a bad thing.

He is 5-11, 210 pounds and ran a 4.48 at the NFL Scouting Combine. He had three sacks and nine tackles for loss last season, which points to his ability to play close to the line of scrimmage. He also led the Gators with four interceptions, so he could also be viewed as a single-high safety.

When the 49ers choose in the second round, there should be plenty of starter-caliber safeties from which to choose.

S Juan Thornhill, Virginia

Thornhill (6-0, 205) is another in the cluster of safeties who should be available at No. 36 but not when the 49ers select in the third round. It’s a group that includes Gardner-Johnson, Darnell Savage (Maryland), Nasir Adderley (Delaware) and Taylor Rapp (Washington).

The 49ers are coming off a season in which they set the NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season with two. Thornhill has experience at cornerback and showed those coverage skills when he moved to safety. He recorded 13 interceptions in his final three college seasons.

The 49ers might even be tempted to move him to cornerback, like they did a year ago with third-round draft pick Tarvarius Moore.

CB Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky

He might not be able to win a starting job immediately, but he should be a big special-teams performer from Day 1 and work into a significant role on defense. At 6-2, 213, Johnson is a good fit for the 49ers’ defensive scheme.

[RELATED: 49ers should find starters at edge rusher, wide receiver]

He is at his best re-routing receivers off the line of scrimmage. He should be able to handle the requirements of the 49ers’ preferred cover-three defense. In addition, he is an aggressive hitter who will be good in run support.

Is 36 too high for him? Perhaps, but he could be a target in Round 3.

Longtime 49ers scout Reggie Cobb dies from apparent heart attack at 50


Longtime 49ers scout Reggie Cobb dies from apparent heart attack at 50

Longtime 49ers area scout Reggie Cobb died Saturday morning in the Bay Area from an apparent heart attack, the club announced. He was 50.

“We are devastated by the sudden loss of a tremendous teammate and loyal friend, Reggie Cobb,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement.

“Reggie was an enthusiastic and passionate person who had a special ability to brighten up a room with his personality and infectious smile. For 10 years, the 49ers were better because of Reggie and these unique qualities that he possessed.

“He was a top-notch scout and an exemplary man whose years of service to this organization and the National Football League will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this time of mourning.”

Cobb played seven NFL seasons after entering the league as the No. 30 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1990 from Tennessee.

In his career as a running back, he gained 3,743 yards and scored 25 touchdowns while playing four seasons with Tampa Bay and one apiece with Green Bay, Jacksonville and the New York Jets.

He transitioned into scouting, serving two years with Washington and six with Tampa Bay before coming to the 49ers. Cobb was entering his 11th year as an area scout with the 49ers. In 2011, he was named NFC Scout of the Year by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

Cobb finished his college career ranked third on the University of Tennessee’s career rushing chart with 2,360 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was also a member of the school’s 100th anniversary team. He lettered in track and graduated with a degree in urban studies in 1990.

Cobb lived in Sugarland, Texas, with his son, DeMarcus, according to his 49ers bio.