San Francisco 49ers: Previewing the Chicago Bears


The Chicago Bears are coming to town needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the San Francisco 49ers are just trying to improve morale at this point.

At this point in the year, the 49ers are all but out of playoff contention, which isn’t a surprise after the myriad of offseason changes that occurred. The 49ers have played terrible at some times, and not bad in others. As usual, there have been some big impact performers and some guys who haven’t gotten utilized or simply haven’t performed.

Last week, possibly the least valuable player was actually the referee crew. It’s common for fans to complain about bad officiating, but last week truly was atrocious. After the game, the always talkative lineman Alex Boone shared his direct sentiments on the state of the refereeing in the game. Needless to say, Boone wasn’t the only one upset. Social media for the 49ers and the refs was rough all day, like it has been all year, but this past week was by far one the of the most overwhelmingly anti-referee as one collective group of people could be.

The followers of @GoldenBaySports on Twitter had their say in the most valuable Niners’ players on the day, and Navarro Bowman (43% of the vote) easily beat out Eric Reid, Anquan Boldin, and the tight end duo of Blake Bell and Vance McDonald, getting the honor of Golden Gate Fan’s Choice MVP. Bowman played well, leading the team in tackles (seven) and showing a lot of hustle on plays he didn’t necessarily get credit for. After losing Willis to retirement, Bowman has contiued to be a rock for this team at all times, which they desperately need.

The defense as a whole worked well together and limited the Cards to only 13 points for most of the day-no thanks to multiple fumbles by the Niners. Unfortunately, the penalties came early and often for the 49ers, who ended with thirteen penalties for 81 yards.  However, there was not much happening on offense either, as San Francisco failed to convert any of their nine third-down plays. To not so humbly brag about a certain someone’s prediction, the Niners put up just 13 points and looked completely inept on offense throughout the game.

With this week comes a new challenge. The Chicago Bears, at 5-6, aren’t completely out of playoff contention, but at this point in the year there’s no room for a loss. With Matt Forte back, and quarterback Jay Cutler clicking as of late with multiple tight ends, the Bears have plenty of offense to move the ball. The 49ers will need to step up, and get the kind of effort Eric Reid shows on every play from all of the defense.

The Bears defense is much different from the legendary Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs-led defense that made them famous, and we’re decades removed from this gem of a team. They still can hold their own, though, so the Niners will need to get creative in their play calling early.

Keys to the Game:

  • Mix It All Up
    The 49ers have had stale offensive playcalling for most of the season, with the same running back dump off screens that they’ve been calling on third and 72 all year long. No one respects Boldin or Torrey Smith as deep threats when the entire offense is played just seven yards from the line of scrimmage.
  • Be Cool
    As we saw last week, sometimes the officiating just doesn’t go your way. Other times it goes against you in monumental ways. There has to be more of a collective effort to regroup and bear down to make a play with or without the calls working, especially late in a big divisional game.
  • Who’s Next?

    The season is drawing to a close, and that means the decision on whether or not to draft a quarterback will be hotly contested in the coming months. It’s a serious issue that the 49ers will need to keep in mind as they watch Gabbert lead the team the rest of the way. Is this who you, as an organization, trust to carry your team to the playoffs next year? Is that guy available in the draft? These questions and more will have to be watched as we wind into the home stretch of the 2015 NFL season.

    Next: Referees Finally Held Accountable For Mistakes

    If the 49ers can just come out refreshed and renewed, and play smart football – such as limiting turnovers – they stand to have a decent chance of winning the game against a middle of the road Bears’ team.