First: one specific. The missed field goal at the end of regulation sparked some questions of coach John Fox, who directed a conservative program of five straight run plays, to position the football at the San Francisco 18, from where Robbie Gould missed a game-winning field goal. But the reasoning was sound and second-guessed only because of Gould missing from a range he rarely has in his 11-year career.
“We’ve been down this road a couple of times,” Fox said. “I would it exactly the same, if it presented itself. Obviously, it’s always better when you make the kick.”
But the overall issue was the Bears’ state of readiness and lack of urgency through too much of a game against a third-tier opponent, after setting their season on track with the Thanksgiving night win over the Green Bay Packers. The Bears played with little passion and fire in too many situations.
An indicator of sloppiness: They had eight penalties walked off overall, including one on special teams to nullify a touchdown punt return. They had penalties on six of their final nine possessions, scoring on none of them.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s commitment to the run may have shackled the Bears, who had a steady stream of starting points with excellent field possession, only to have the offense unable to exploit anything downfield against one of the NFL’s poorer defenses against the pass.
The Bears ran backs a season-high 38 times and controlled the football 37:24 to the 49ers’ 25:46 but too often stalled with eight possessions out of 12 reaching inside San Francisco’s end of the field but resulting in only two touchdowns.
But the Bears did put up 364 yards for the game, making this the third of their top six yardage games that they’ve lost (Detroit, Green Bay, San Francisco).
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Coordinator Vic Fangio showed a nickel front that included three linebacker-types in the first quarter, with Lamarr Houston and Willie Young on the edges and Pernell McPhee inside, resulting in a swarm sack of Blaine Gabbert.
The defense had a season-high seven three-and-outs and simply failed to avoid breakdowns in two critical long scoring situations. The Bears held their fourth opponent to less than 300 yards after winning the first three of those games (Oakland, Kansas City, St. Louis).
“We can only control our side of the ball, just look at ourselves and see what we did,” said defensive lineman Will Sutton. “I felt like we came out there strong but we’ve just got to believe in our teammates. I thought we played a real good game on defense and just let it slip away a little at the end.”
Moon's Grades: D