SANTA CLARA – The 49ers lost 28-20 to the Bears Sunday Night. Here are the 49ers’ grades.
KAEPERNICK: F. His worst game since two games ago. Looked like Tony Romo looked last week. Committed four turnovers – one fumble and three interceptions. Would have been five turnovers but one of the interceptions hit the grass before a Bears’ defensive back caught it. Also committed a delay of game penalty on third down in the red zone on the final drive. So unlike him.
RUNNING BACKS: B+. The Bears could not stop Frank Gore. We predicted that. Gore averaged 4.8 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. He was explosive and elusive. Carlos Hyde was neither. He gained zero yards on four carries. The Bears were ready for the zone-read runs when he was in the game. We predicted that, too. Bruce Miller also averaged zero yards per carry. He was stopped for no gain on third-and-one.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B. Michael Crabtree led the team with 9 targets, 7 catches, 82 receiving yards and a touchdown. Of the two incomplete passes that were intended for Crabtree, the first was intercepted and the second was the 49ers’ final play, an incomplete pass over the middle. Anquan Boldin caught just two passes and was targeted just six times. Greg Roman must have forgotten about him. More on that later.
TIGHT ENDS: B-. Vernon Davis was open deep more than once but Kaepernick didn’t see him so Davis caught just three passes for 39 yards before he left the game with an injured ankle. He was seen walking with crutches after the game in the locker room. Derek Carrier made a nice 22-yard catch over the middle as he took a shot from Charles Tillman. Vance McDonald injured his knee in the first half but played in the second half. He was targeted just twice all game. He caught one pass. Kaepernick threw the other behind McDonald on a quick roll out to the left.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D. The run blocking for Gore was good on the Power off tackle runs and the Weak side leads. The pass blocking was not good. The 49ers’ offensive line gave up four sacks and Jonathan Martin gave up two sacks on the final drive.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Quinton Dial committed a roughing the passer penalty which set up a Bears’ touchdown before halftime. Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ian Williams dominated the Bears’ offensive line in the run game and shut down Matt Forte. Justin Smith had a sack, too, the only sack the 49ers’ defense recorded. Ray McDonald contributed nothing to the mostly-non-existent pass rush. When will Vic Fangio give Tank Carradine a shot?
LINEBACKERS: D. Patrick Willis played well – eight tackles. But Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier and Aaron Lynch created no pressure on Cutler. The 49ers have had almost no pass rush this season without Aldon Smith.
SECONDARY: D. Created zero turnovers against Cutler. Hard to do. Jimmie Ward gave up three touchdown catches to Brandon Marshall in the red zone. Ward is a coverage liability in the red zone. Quarterbacks have been going after him in the red zone since the preseason and they will continue to go after him in the red zone until he proves he’s not a mark. And Chris Culliver gave up a 29-yard deep pass because he did not turn his head to find the ball. What else is new?
SPECIAL TEAMS: A. Special teams didn’t lose this game. Aaron Lynch blocked a punt which set up the 49ers’ first touchdown.
COACHING: F. The 49ers beat themselves. Four turnovers. Four sacks. 16 penalties. Can’t win that way. To top it off, Greg Roman called a pass for Michael Crabtree on the final play of the game – fourth-and-9 from the Bears’ 17. How many times will Roman call a pass for Crabtree at the end of the game and lose? That play has to go to Boldin.