49ers keep it close but fall to Bears, 14-9

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) passes against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

SANTA CLARA — Nick Mullens knew he screwed up.

It was his final throw of the 49ers’ 14-9 loss to the Chicago Bears. There was 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, and it was fourth and 4 from the Bears’ 45-yard line. The 49ers were on the verge of beating a playoff team if they could score a touchdown.

Mullens scrambled out of the pocket to his right and saw nothing but green grass in front of him. A direct line to the first-down marker. He could have skipped for the first down, somersaulted out of bounds, stopped the clock and moonwalked back to the huddle.

Instead, Mullens cocked back and threw deep downfield to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who was covered. The pass landed out of bounds. That ended the 49ers’ chances, and they lost, 14-9. Mullens had made a fundamental mistake, perhaps due to inexperience. The 49ers’ record is now 4-11. The Bears are 11-4.

“If you look at the film,” Mullens said, “I stood there for 30 seconds just understanding what I had done, and how big of a mistake it was. I’ve been replaying it this whole time we’ve been talking, since I walked off the field. I know exactly what I did. I know exactly what I should’ve done. I know exactly how that game could’ve ended up if we would’ve just made the plays we were supposed to make.”

What exactly does Mullens think he should have done differently?

“I should have ran,” Mullens confessed. “I didn’t run. In the heat of battle, a lot of things are happening fast, split-second decisions. Saw ’Quise down the field. Tried to give him a chance instead of making the simple play. I didn’t make the simple play. It wasn’t a smart decision.”

And it was the one bad decision Mullens made all game.

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This article has 194 Comments

  1. You Left out the hurry up down right before the 4th down where they lost some yardage instead of using the clock.
    Nick got too excited, not Nick Cool yet…

  2. “(Goodwin) got rerouted off the line,” Shanahan explained. “Slowed him down a hair. Had him a little bit behind the play. The ball was just a hair in front of him. Definitely can make it an easier catch.”

    Full quote.

    “Pretty much like that. You’re looking at Kittle, the backer was on him. Then you go right next to ‘Quise is number two. He got rerouted off the line. Slowed him down a hair. Had him a little bit behind the play, but he definitely went by the MIKE linebacker, the ball was just a hair in front of him. Definitely can make it an easier catch, and ‘Quise could make a tough catch there too. It was an unfortunate turnover.”

    “Quise could make a tough catch there too.”

    He blamed both. Goodwin should have caught it, Mullens should have thrown a better ball. The pass can be considered accurate, but the placement was poor.

    1. Shanahan basically absolved Goodwin by calling it a “tough” catch.

      Here’s what Shanahan said later in the press conference when talking about Mullens’ performance: “I know we’d like to have that one back, but definitely wasn’t a bad decision. Just a hair off Quise’s hand.”

      1. How did he absolve him? Saying that Goodwin could have made a tough catch means that Shanahan believes Goodwin should have caught it.

          1. Again, that is not absolving Goodwin. You’re splitting hairs based on your love for Mullens and odd ire for anything Shanahan does or says.

            1. Shanahan’s message was, “Sure, the receiver could have made an amazing catch, but the quarterback needed to throw a better ball.”

              1. You’re furthering my point that you are splitting hairs Grant. No matter how one looks at that, it is blatantly obvious that Shanahan is saying that both players should have done better on that play and is not absolving either player.

          1. The 49ers FO, speaking through their representative, Matt Maiocco say that Goodwin “should have caught the ball”. Who else knows football better?

        1. Good point.
          I like Goodwin, but having him run a pattern in the teeth of the defense is not conducive to making the “tough catch.”

          The days of making the tough catch ala T. O. have been missing since – well, T. O.
          Pettis won’t be that type of WR and Bourne was a disappointment this season.

          Still waiting for that “tough catch” WR to show up. Finding that WR will be quite a catch 😉

          Merry Christmas to All!

    2. Watched this play several times now and while Goodwin does get held up a bit by Mack, he does not accelerate through his route and has an opportunity on the ball, which is a bit in front of him. Even so, I believe he could have caught that ball, and so did the announcers.

    3. I don’t know what you guys are looking at but no way in hell can Quise catch that ball. Look at the field level view of the play. Goodwin has to accelerate just to get a fingertip on the ball. Not sure how that route combination is supposed to work but running your 5’9″ 170 lb WR directly into the 240lb LB seems like a recipe for a decapitation. Perhaps the reroute caused Goodwin to run the route too shallow but it shouldn’t have mattered. It was a bad pass and it was slightly late. I also didn’t like Mullens body language after that pass. He could have been upset about the Int but it sure looked like he was showing Goodwin up. That’s a bad look for any qb. I don’t care what happens a QB should NEVER show up a WR by acting like an Int was the WRs fault – ever. In lacrosse they have a term called a ‘Buddy Pass’. A buddy pass is when your teammate throws you a pass that runs you into a defender who gets to decleat you. My son was playing on a national team in a tournament in Denver. On those national teams, a lot of times you’re playing with teammates you may have just met for the first time right before the tournament. My son’s team got a fast break going and the kid with the ball held it too long and threw it to my son late. My son had his head turned back toward the ball and a defender running straight at him. He got layed out. Worst buddy pass I’ve ever seen. Young QB’s have that happen quite a bit too. Good QB’s don’t throw buddy passes. The best in the NFL at protecting his receivers is Drew Brees. He just doesn’t run his WR’s into big hits and they trust him as a result. On the interception, Mullens made a bad pass and it was 1 step late and it could have been a monumental buddy pass. Mullens should have come off Goodwin and hit Bourne who was open on the play. That entire sequence was on Mullens. If you want to see what I mean by a buddy pass here is one of the most well known buddy passes in college football.


      1. Everyone I have seen, except some posters here, has basically acknowledged that Goodwin shortarms the pass:


        They had a promising drive to Chicago’s 20 yard line in the fourth quarter, but Marquise Goodwin short-armed a pass from Nick Mullens …”

        The announcers of the game….


        Q-“On the previous drive, on the interception, it looked like the pass was a little in front. It looked like Marquise was anticipating a hit. What did you see”

        KS -“Pretty much like that.”

        If what you say is true Houston, then why even extend to touch the ball? Marquise doesn’t touch the ball and it sails into the ground.

        1. A lot of people are saying Goodwin should have caught the ball. Don’t really care what other people are saying. I’m saying what I saw which is it was a bad pass. Goodwin was lucky to get fingertips on the ball.
          Even if he catches the ball, it’s a minimal gain and Goodwin may still be in the hospital. Good QB’s don’t lead their WR’s into crushing hits. Mullens should have thrown the ball to Bourne who was wide open at the 13 yard line. That play was all on Mullens.

          1. “Good QB’s don’t lead their WR’s into crushing hits.”

            We saw Garoppolo do just that on more than one occasion in the Minnesota game week 1.

          2. “Good QB’s don’t lead their WR’s into crushing hits.”

            Like when Montana laid out Nehemiah against the Falcons in 1983?

            1. Really good memory. Kind of validates my point. A QB leading a receiver into a big hit is a bad play on the QB’s part. I noticed you had nothing to say about my point that the throw should have gone to Bourne which it should have.

        2. Just an FYI, the announcers changed their mind after seeing the replay.
          Personally I don’t think Goodwin sold out on the route. Which is what screwed up the timing… I’m not question ing his last second effort so much because because it was such a short pass and the ball was on him pretty quick so I’m not positive he could have done for the ball.

          In any case I think we’re all spending too much time trying to lay blame on kind of a flukey play. They happen in football to everyone in football and those are not the turnovers that bother me. The ones that bother me are fumbles, bad decisions like throwing into tripple coverage, etc, as they are the ones you can eliminate much more quickly.

          1. That they did Shoup. Spielman said he was wrong the first time and that it was on Mullens for not putting it on him. You can’t lead the receiver on that play or you are going to get him lit up by the LB. Goodwin had to fight through contact from Mack at the line of scrimmage then the LB who was beside him and he didn’t short arm it. That is complete Horse Sh*t as he reached with his arms outstretched which is the only reason he got a piece of it to begin with. It was just a poor throw by Mullens that resulted in a tipped ball for a pick.

            Mullens looked like a young QB in this game which is what he is. Too many mistakes including the 4th down play, but he missed Kittle on the play before that on a poor throw that sailed high. He also didn’t show leadership after the pick and in fact showed up a teammate which you can’t do regardless of who’s fault it is. If you think it’s the receivers fault you talk to him on the sideline. You don’t start throwing a tantrum on the field. He has to learn how to act like a pro and make plays like a pro. Fortunately he has a lot of time to do that.

            1. Am I the only one who thought Goodwin heard foot steps and didn’t sell out on that ball?
              He touched it with both hands and I was always taught if you can touch it with both hands then you can catch it.
              Now sure he was probably going to get lit up but so many times this year Goodwin to me has not shown a full commitment to football. Sure family problems and injuries but a friend of mine whose a Bills fan said he did the exact same things in Buffalo.

              1. He did not touch it with both hands. He touched it with the fingertips of one hand. It was a poor throw by Mullens. You can’t lead the receiver on that route because you are either going to get him killed or it’s going to result in a fumble after he gets hammered. In this case it resulted in a pick.

              2. I’ve watched it a number of times Prime and he got the fingertips of one hand on the ball. It was a poor throw. As mentioned even if Goodwin somehow was able to pull it in, he was going to get creamed and likely fumble it or tip it up anyway. That pass has to be on him period.

              3. I felt like he should have had it but maybe I’m just biased towards him.
                I see a lazy uncommitted player right now.

                And as I mentioned earlier with my friend whose a Bills fan, said this is what’s he is like.
                Good one game, hurt or not interested for the next 3.

              4. I’m willing to give him some leeway based on the fact he’s had some injury issues and personal issues that have plagued him this year. Last season he was the best receiver on the roster and had really good chemistry with JG. They need to add to the position obviously, but no way I’d give up on Goodwin at this point.

              5. I’m not giving up on him but he needs to show more. Better leadership, better durability.

                It’s my guess he should be in a dog fight for a job next year if we can add to the position in free agency and the draft and the continued development of Taylor and Bourne.

                Also rocket, in the spirit of the season, Id like to make a mends with you like I did with Razor last year. No more insults or bringing up the past comments we have had with one another.
                Are you cool with that?

              6. Absolutely Prime. I don’t take anything said on here personally anyway. It’s just spirited football discussion between passionate fans. Have a good Christmas.

            2. “but he missed Kittle on the play before that on a poor throw that sailed high.”

              To be fair, Nick had to throw off his back foot there because of the pressure. The OL looked pretty bad throughout that drive. Shanny drove me nuts by continuing to call passes without a RB blocking. I know he likes to have his five eligibles, but an adjustment should have been made on the final drive.

              1. #80,

                There was pressure but Mullens had time to deliver the ball. Shanny wanted a safety valve available on every play which is Wilson was not kept in to block.

            3. Rocket: I agree with your assessment and said pretty much the same thing earlier. After the interception, Mullens was clearly animated. How do you know he was showing up Goodwin and upset with Goodwin? Isn’t it just as likely that Mullens was angry with himself for not having made a better pass and also perhaps because he realized he had potentially put Goodwin in harm’s way?

              1. Cubus,

                He appeared to be staring Goodwin’s way and yelling out a few superlatives, but you’re right we can’t be sure.

          2. Goodwin sold out on the end of the route when attempting to make the catch. It’s impossible to know exactly what Goodwin was thinking on this route. IMO Goodwin got rerouted right off the line of scrimmage so his route ended up being a lot more shallow than the play is designed for so Goodwin’s natural reaction was to run a little more slowly through the open zone to give Mullens a greater passing window. Mullens put the ball a lot closer to the LB than Goodwin expected. This is my point about running a receiver into a big hit. Mullens needed to put that ball on Goodwin a step earlier and if he couldn’t get that pass he needed to hit Bourne who was wide open at the 13. This entire play was on Mullens and blaming Goodwin for this interception is idiotic.

  3. We shouldn’t beat up on Mullins. Yes he could have run out of bounds and got them three more plays but they needed a touchdown to win and hadn’t been able to do that all game. If he hadn’t thrown it out of bounds and given Marquise a chance, that might have been the best option, one on one worked for the Bears all day

  4. Glad Mullens took the blame, but KS should have prepared Mullens for every contingency and every scenario.
    Hopefully, Mullens will never make that mistake again, and hopefully, KS will coach Mullens to take advantage of an open field, and the importance of converting that 4th down.
    I guess my biggest criticism was that it was thrown out of bounds. If thrown in bounds, Goodwin could have caught it, or drawn a PI penalty.
    On that pick, Goodwin did get chipped, so he was not at full speed, and Mullens was slightly off target, but maybe they should not have been throwing into a crowd, and attacked the edges more. Sure wish the Niners could have run a fly sweep, bubble screen or quick out.

    1. hopefully, KS will coach Mullens to take advantage of an open field, and the importance of converting that 4th down.

      Ridiculous. That should be automatic for any player who has made it to the professional level.

      1. rib,
        Didn’t you realize that Kyle is actually using a joystick to controll these players and they are only doing what his controller’s motions force them to. It’s too bad he is not very good at his video games. :)
        Free will, it’s a b***h and every player has it.

        1. KS just let a raw UDFA playing in his 7th game, try to win a game with little help preparing him for every contingency. Just throw him out there, and let him sink or swim.
          According to you, coaches do not matter, and they are a waste of money. KS sure thinks so, because he refuses to hire an OC. I mean, just look at the results.

      2. With better coaching, it would be automatic. How many times have we heard that KS likes his QB to deliver the ball from the pocket? Obviously, when Mullens escaped right, he still was looking downfield for a receiver. Why? Because that is how he was coached. KS does not like mobile QBs because they do not fit his scheme. His scheme is for the QB to deliver the ball from the pocket. When the pocket broke down, Mullens was still looking to deliver the ball, instead of being aware that he could run to the side line and make a first down.
        It is the same thing as when Pettis ran out of bounds in the Broncos game. He should have been coached to stay in bounds to keep the clock moving. With better coaching, Pettis would have been instructed to stay in bounds. Obviously, Pettis did not have any awareness of clock management.
        Yes, players play the game, but coaching matters. With better coaching, Mullens would automatically know the right thing to do. According to you, why even have coaches? Just let them play, and assume they will know all their options, and will not make a mistake.
        Maybe, if KS had hired an OC, the OC would have stressed the importance of converting that 4th down. No OC, and Mullens throws the ball out of bounds. Of course, Mullens was an UDFA, playing in his 7th game, but I guess you want him to think like a grizzled veteran who does not need any help at all, who automatically will do the right thing.

          1. The Niner coaches are 4-11. Guess you think they are geniuses and above reproach.
            If they were 11-4, I could see your point, but they are not, and their coaching is lacking in so many ways.
            Bum Phillips said it best- ‘There are 2 types of coaches. Them that’s fired, and them that’s gonna be fired,’
            Coaches on a 4 win team aint worth spit. They are stealing money. Luckily, KS has a 6 year deal.

        1. More Twilight Zone stuff, Seb.

          Would you have me believe that Steve Deberg needed “better coaching”?

          This rant is born from your two frustrations-
          1) That they didn’t win
          2) EVERYONE knows what the other is………..

      3. Why do you guys continue responding to him? I saw the same thing on the Game page with the trolls over there. Seb and Darren are idiots with no knowledge of the game. Responding to them just gives them the attention they crave and keeps them going. Just ignore these guys and maybe they won’t post so much.

  5. Niners have a terrible RZ problem, we all know that. But it seems entirely execution based. How many times have we seen this team get in the RZ or goal to go, then some stupid penalty pushes them 10 yards back? Usually it’s holding, this week it was Taylor’s block in the back. 2nd and 5 at the 11 is now 2nd and 15 from 21. And Grant wonders why they don’t run out of these long yardage conditions. I don’t know how you coach brain farts out of these players?

    1. That’s something I would like to know the numbers on.
      We always see the play count its not really indicative of the situation, and too often it gets boiled down to “winning teams run the ball more.” Teams that are in the lead typically run the ball more but that’s not necessarily how they got the lead.
      Did one team face more 2nd or 3rd and long situations? How many of the passes were done in the 2 minute drill situation.
      If this is done for both teams you would have a better idea of what teams are truly running teams at their core.

      As to their red zone woes I wouldn’t mind seeing someone brought in as a run game coordinator or specialist. I think this team desperately needs to add some umph to their run game for those short yardage situations.

      1. Ahem. Maybe KS should hire an OC.
        ‘I don’t know how you coach brain farts out of these players?’- With better coaching.

        1. Probably time for an OC going into the offseason and ready for the draft and training camps. Might not hurt so JS can focus more on things that are the most important to him including the O but others things too.

    2. Not sure what game you’re talking about but all 3 scoring opportunities were clean this week, except the Kittle PI but we got away with one earlier in the Bears first time in RZ too. They have trouble getting into the end zone period.

      1. Not sure what game you’re talking about but all 3 scoring opportunities were clean this week

        First drive into the RZ, earlty 2nd qtr.

        2nd & 5 at CHI 11

        (12:16 – 2nd) N.Mullens pass short right to G.Kittle to CHI 9 for 2 yards (A.Amos). PENALTY on SF-T.Taylor, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at CHI 11 – No Play.

        Instead of 3rd and 3 at the 9, it’s now 2nd and 15 at the 21. Big difference, don’t you agree?

        1. Ribico, you’re right, I missed that sorry, but that was one out of the three trips to the RZ. So what happened on the other two?

          And I agree with hammer regarding commonality. 👇🏼

          One thing you can do is sit players who don’t perform. One of the successes of Fangio’s offense is execution. Each player knows his assignments forward and backwards or they don’t play.

          1. So what happened on the other two?

            A TD pass to Kittle was nullified due to a PI mugging that wasn’t called. The third… Ask Seb about not having timeouts with 5 seconds till the half at the 5 yard line. I maintain the refs should have stopped play after that pass to Bourne for a measurement. That would have saved about 10 seconds, time for a shot into the end zone.

            1. The PI did hurt but we weren’t called for one on the Bears earlier too so it’s a wash.

              Who wasted those TOs?

              You seem to blame the refs more than players?

              1. The PI did hurt but we weren’t called for one on the Bears earlier too so it’s a wash.

                But we aren’t talking about Bear RZ issues, are we?

                You seem to blame the refs more than players?

                Obviously, when obvious.

              2. Rib and I are diametrically opposed on many things, but he at least has enough class to acknowledge when I am right.
                I respect his football acumen, but reserve the right to disagree with him.

              3. but he at least has enough class to acknowledge when I am right.

                Seb, that has happened never. But as a gift of Christmas charity, and if it makes you feel better about yourself, I’ll let you have that.

          2. If it would have been a 3 yard play, it was a very long 3. No matter, it still hurt! But who puts Taylor on Mack?

            The following play was the one that Pettis was injured on. And then they run the ball on 3rd and 11?

            Forty-five times in RZ with only 18 touchdowns. Bad, like worst in NFL.

            Execution has played a part as have penalties but the play calling is also a bit questionable.

            1. But who puts Taylor on Mack?

              I believe Taylor chipped in on a double team.

              Forty-five times in RZ with only 18 touchdowns. Bad, like worst in NFL.

              It would be an interesting exercise to go over those 45 RZ attempts and see what transpired. I’m betting a good percentage of the times they were penalized out of the red zone, or short yardage suddenly became long yardage, either through penalty or QB holding the ball and taking a sack.

              Grant, that would be a good task for you. You could definitely frame it as a Shanahan shortcoming.

    3. “But it seems entirely execution based.”

      When you have continued execution issues, especially in certain areas, you need to look at the coaches.

      1. When you have continued execution issues, especially in certain areas, you need to look at the coaches.

        Well, they did. The last group of coaches with this problem are no longer here, this is not just a Shanahan problem. Just google:

        harbaugh 49ers red zone

        “Jerry Rice talks Jim Harbaugh and 49ers’ red zone woes”, nov 2014
        “Why the San Francisco 49ers Stink in the Red Zone”, dec 2011
        “Why the 49ers Struggle in the Red Zone, How They Can Improve” feb 2013
        “The 49ers have the worst red zone offense in football” dec , 2012
        “49ers’ red-zone woes only growing worse ” nov 2014

        I’m not sure what it is about this team.

        1. Under Harbaugh the 49ers were in the top half of the NFL in redzone TD percentage twice, 50% of his NFL tenure.

          Shanahan has been an OC/HC in the NFL for 11 season and has managed to be top half a total of 3 times, 27% of his NFL tenure.

    4. One thing they can do to improve in the red zone is get the running game working inside the 10. And the main reason it doesn’t is Richburg. Perhaps they need to be looking at a replacement.

  6. One has to wonder if Nick knew it was 4th down on that final play… Everyone in the stands, at home and on the sideline clearly saw the best option would have been to run for the first and much more…. I like Mullens and he’s playing waaay better than anyone could have expected but between this and kneeling it too quickly against the Broncos at the end of that game one has to wonder what the f he’s thinking at times (or not thinking)… Inexperience is just an excuse really — he’s been playing ball long enough to know better. Regardless, this team has been fun to watch these last three weeks so hopefully they can start next year with the same intensity and finally break the playoff drought.

            1. It was a bone headed play because he threw it out of bounds. Absolutely no chance of converting that 4th down. Running past the sticks and out of bounds was the smart move.
              JG did not have a bone headed play. Sure, he should have run out of bounds, but the did not anticipate getting injured.

              1. You guys are forgetting something here. This team is different in many ways this yr than last yr. KS is using a bunch of scrubs, rookies and players who will not be on the team next yr,

                Scrubs and rookies play like scrubs and rookies. I know they’re trying their very best, but Pro football is a very difficult sport. If you don’t put the very best players that you can on the field, its a pretty tough go, to say the least.
                In ’82, with their line-up, who could the Tampa Bay Bucs compete with? At the very least, they had a GM who couldn’t find his arse with both hands.

                Thats what KS is trying to dig out from.

                If were having this same discussion at this time next year, then (dare I say it?) Sebs may have some cred to his rants.

        1. I think it was more likely related to “heat of the moment”. They had great difficulty in the red zone all game long. Mullens glimpsed that Goodwin might be open and in a split second made a decision to go for the big play (he knew that Goodwin was faster than anyone else), because they needed a TD to win. Had they only needed a FG, I think he would have made a different decision. But since it was 4th down, he still should have gone with the sure thing which was to get the first down and be guaranteed to live to fight another play. He’ll learn from it.

  7. This should clear up any question about Jimmie being better than Nick. Last year (without Mack) Jimmie led us to 5 Robbie Gould field goals and this year Nick could only lead us to three. The Bears were able to tie their output both years. Yes, we have a very serious red zone problem no matter who’s at QB.

    1. Without Mack or Roquan Smith.

      Mullens led the offense into field-goal range a fourth time, but Goodwin tipped the ball to the Bears.

      1. I think KS summed this one up correctly. The throw could have been better and Goodwin could have made a tough catch. It’s unfortunate.

        However, the bigger issue on the throw is that Mullens was leading Goodwin into a catch that had a high probability of seeing Goodwin get laid out. While not desired, I’ve seen elite QBs do this on occasion especially when they are playing very good defenses.

        Mullens has exceeded all expectations and I really hope the team keeps him as the backup. But there is no chance that he replaces Jimmy G to start the season, under the assumption that Jimmy G is healthy, if for no other reason than money (but I think there are other reasons).

      2. Have you even watched the replay? That pass just barely grazed Q’s outstretched fingertips.

        And that 4th down debacle “perhaps” due to inexperience? This no blame Mullens is getting decidedly creepy.

        1. The 49ers front office man, Matt Maiocco, said that Goodwin “should have caught the ball”. Donte Whitner and both of the announcers said he should have caught it. What about those three is creepy to you. There is a difference of opinion. I think Goodwin ran a poor route because he ran straight at the zone defender who was guarding Kittle and shortened the distance between the the defender who intercepted the ball. That is bad route running or a poorly designed play. The idea is to let Kittle occupy defender so that you don’t end up accidentally double covered like Goodwin was. He beat his defender but the ball was intercepted by Kittle’s man. Should not happen even if the pass is a little too far, not to mention that if Goodwin caught it with just a little more distance from Kittle’s man, he could have gone to the house. Look at the replays.

          1. both of the announcers said he should have caught it.

            I believe at least one of the announcers took that back after watching the replay.

            1. Rib – I just listened again and one commentator apologized for mistakenly saying that it was Wilson who dropped it, not Q. They never changed their opinion that he should have caught it. One said he took his eye off the ball. Not trying to take sides in an opinion dispute. Just saying that reasonable people disagree about the facts. Still say bad route running when receiver runs directly at a defender covering another receiver. Receivers must keep their distance from other receivers so as to not aid the D. Routes are designed to take this into account and it’s virtually always the receivers’ fault when they bunch up.

              1. Just to clarify, receivers sometimes try to legally pick (screen) off other defenders but not the case on this play.

              2. Spielman said he was wrong on thinking it was Goodwin’s fault and said it was on Mullens. I can’t see how anybody feels like Goodwin should have caught the ball. It grazed off the fingertips of one hand for goodness sakes. That is a throw Mullens has to put into his belly so he can protect himself. Just a poor throw that resulted in an interception and could have resulted in Goodwin getting blown up if he had caught it.

              3. Rocket – I’ve listened to the announcers 4 times now on replays and you are wrong. The only thing Spielman said is he apologized for saying it was Wilson who dropped it instead of Goodwin. His last statement is “Goodwin normally catches that”. You are one of the best examples of often wrong, always certain.

              4. Whine,

                You wouldn’t hear it on highlights of the play because he says it at the start of the next Bears drive. I did not make it up and I’m not one to say things with certainty unless I have proof so you’re wrong on that accusation as well. Feel free to provide examples of me doing this though. I’d love to read them.

            2. He did take it back. Goodwin had his arms stretched to catch that ball.

              Mullens was a bit off the whole game-against a Vangio D running on all cylinders, ready and primed for the playoffs. We have all seen that before-when Fangio was here and Jed let him slip away. because Bulky said so.

              Just amazes me the talent in coaching and players we’ve let slip thru our fingers since the Yorks took over.
              Ribs, you say Jersey has worse ownership? It CANT be by much!

            3. Rocket – I listened to the replay after the Bears took over and after they ran their first play. But on the next play, you are correct that he did change his opinion while they ran their second play. I was the one who was wrong not you. I still think the issue is more complicated than either one screwed up. It was a play that was designed a certain way that was not executed properly by a combination of factors. To my eyes the route combination was against man coverage with Travathan (who made the interception) assigned to Kittle. If a defender is allowed to ignore his assigned man and make an interception, it is a sign that the play was not executed or designed properly. Mullens should have delivered the ball sooner to Goodwin before Travathan had time to move in or gone to Kittle who’s man had abandoned him. Aso, it would have had more chance for success if Goodwin had not run his route so deep. It wasn’t just a bad pass or a dropped pass that doomed that play. It’s a sign of a team that needs more continuity and reps. My bad on the announcer error.

        2. Yes, Goodwin could have caught the ball had he laid out for it…. He was thinking health first though which is too bad because the INT took away 3 points…. Had we had those 3 points the last drive could have been Gould’s chance to seal the victory with another FG but oh well, shoulda, woulda, coulda.

  8. No surprises yesterday

    1. I agree with most of the grades.
    2. I think most of us are painfully aware of our redzone issues. It has been a lingering achilles for at least 5 seasons.
    3. We need a short yardage power back.
    4. We need receivers who Consistently run good routes and can make contested catches.
    4 a. Anthony Miller had a nice TD grab . He was on the radar of many niner fans including myself. Unfortunately he was not on Lynch’s radar. He was drafted by the Bears after the niners traded up for Pettis.
    4b. Courtland Sutton was drafted a mere 3 position ahead of Pettis.
    5. I was watching a Steelers/Colts Sunday night game I think 2 years ago . Steelers were driving to get into FG position at the end of the first half. They found themselves in a 3rd and long . Play broke down and big ben scrambled around the best he could and then threw the ball up for grabs. Antonio jumped up and grabbed it. Collinsworth commented – that was a gamble by Ben that his receiver is a better athlete than the corner . We need such a weapon in our arsenal. We cant expect every pass to be perfectly thrown . We need receivers who can out muscle a CB . Pettis, goodwin and Ritchie James will be good complimentary receivers to this person we draft – hopefully someday.

  9. I like Sutton a lot, but he’s being outplayed by another rookie (Hamilton) drafted lower than Sutton and a 2nd year, UDFA (Patrick). I think Sutton has a bright future but he and Pettis are about even right now.

    Miller had one catch in the last three games.

    If you’re looking for a better rookie WR it’s clearly Calvin Ridley, with DJ Moore and Christian Kirk slotting in behind him. Kirk was drafted three picks after Pettis.

    The guy everyone slept on was Robert Foster.

    Maybe teams should pay closer attention to back-up WRs at Bama, who could start for almost any program in the country.

  10. Jaylon Smith, “Running back is in my past and I was able to put that on display.”

    Devin White: …White was ranked as the No. 5 running back — not linebacker — in the class and the No. 135 overall player in the 247Sports Composite.

    It’s not a sexy pick and it might not even be filling a huge position of need but passing up on Devin White would be a big mistake.

    1. It appears from the scouting reports that White would be a safe pick, and Shanalynch have shown a proclivity for safe picks in top 10. But it seems to be a positional reach at # 3 or 4. But then, Lynch had said they had been repared to draft Foster at #2. It’s all very early though………

    2. LB may not be as big a need as Edge Rush or CB but I absolutely love Devin White. The kid is a natural born leader and a hell of a football player. IMO he immediately makes an impact on this defense with his leadership and attitude alone. This kid is special. Great, great player.

  11. smh — two blog posts full of comments falling over each other in identifying scapegoats for the loss.

    The young Niner team played an excellent game overall against a team superior in both talent and experience that is probably going to make a deep run in the play-offs. They were in the game the entire 4 quarters.

    The D despite losing several starters throughout the season has now played a unit for a few games (after having 8 different safeties) and playing very well.

    The offense acquitted itself well considering that it was led by a backup QB (Mullen is now the backup in my book after the Bears game) and playing with a 4th or 5th string RB and a depleted receiver corps. I have no doubt that the Niners would have won this game with Jimmy G and a healthy Brieda.

    Overall, I’m pretty pleased with what the Niners have been able to achieve with the available roster. Unless they have another catastrophic season of injury next season (statistically unlikely), Niners will be playing January of 2020.

    1. Mood I mostly agree with you, however TO ratio, RZ efficiency, and 3rd down efficiency have to improve dramatically if the team is to go to playoffs.

    2. I agree Mood. It’s as if people’s memories are erased after a loss. They went toe to toe with a hot team heading to the playoffs with a bunch of rookies, backups and even 3rd stringers in some cases. The expectations on here are ridiculous sometimes.

      Tim K on the Athletic said yesterday’s game convinced him the Niners are going to the playoffs next year which is what I’ve been saying all season. The players they get back from injury combined with the upcoming draft/FA along with the experience a number of young players received this season, sets them up for a major jump next year if they can stay healthy.

      1. The 49ers didn’t go toe to toe with the Bears. Don’t kid yourself. The Bears were toying with the 49ers and had complete control of that game. The only reason it was close is because Allen Robinson got greedy and Tarvarius Moore made a play.

        1. It was a 5 point game half way through the 4th quarter and the Niners driving. The Bears made a play on the tipped Int. but they certainly weren’t toying with them.

              1. You see what you want to see. Even down five, the 49ers would have had to score a touchdown to win, and that simply wasn’t going to happen. Shanahan hasn’t scored a touchdown against Fangio since 2011. The Bears were in complete control. Merry Christmas.

              2. Got my Christmas card from Eddie and the boys today! Merry Christmas Rocket, and Merry Christmas to everyone on this blog! Too many names and I don’t want to leave anyone out, so God bless us everyone!

              3. Iron Maiden
                Judas Priest
                Black Sabbath
                Yngwie Malmsteen(Steeler, Alcatrazz, Rising Force)
                Blue Oyster Cult

              4. Nah, never liked Metallica either. I gotta have a vocalist that can sing, with range. Operatic voice is my favorite style, but I should’ve included AC/DC on that list too….

              5. Danzig? No. Queen wasn’t my thing, but Freddie had a magnificent voice. Right there with Halford, Dio and Dickinson, no doubt about that….

              6. It’s ok. I remember when Queen’s song, Bohemian Rhapsody was played on the radio and my dad really liked it. I mean, Freddie’s Italian and that choir boy voice.

                Then I remember my dad seeing the AC/DC video of Thunderstruck, I’m not sure how or where, but I remember him coming up to me one day, and asking me about it exclaiming, boy that guy on guitar is amazing. Made me chuckle….

              7. Razor… how can you not like that distinctive voice of Lenny?
                And Danzig is bad*ss too.
                To each their own I guess.
                I’m an AC/DC guy myself.
                Huge fan.
                But I don’t consider them Metal.

          1. The 49ers caught a lucky break with the missed FG which helped keep it to only 5.

            Even with that, holding Chicago to 17 points would have been a good day for the D.

            The offense just needs to get better inside the 20.

            1. Yep. The Niners had more drives into the RZ than the Bears. The difference was the Bears scored TD’s and the Niners had to settle for FG’s.

              1. And the Niners gifted the Bears -7 when Mullens threw that uncatchable ball beyond Q’s reach. Ooooh, I like playing your game Grant!

        2. The Bears were toying with the 49ers and had complete control of that game.

          I’ll bet the Seahawks last week and the Jags last season thought the same way ….until they did not..

    3. Totally agree. Debating blame for this loss is ridiculous. Clearly this loss is 100% Grant Cohn’s fault. He hasn’t provided the coaching staff with enough suggestions so they can win games. On top of that the negative waves Grant’s churning are submarining the 49ers Chi. Good performance & good fortune are impossible with Grants negativity. Stop with the negative waves Grant.

  12. Everyone pretty much agrees that Mullens should have run for the first down on the last play but there’s a couple of things I noticed on the play. First, he threw, on the run without setting up, over 50 yards in the air. That’s not a weak arm. Second, as everyone has noticed, he threw out of bounds. Leaving aside his decision to throw, Q was behind the defender and was clearly open to catch a properly thrown ball. Had Mullens stopped and set, which he had plenty of time to do, and led Q down the field, we might now be comparing him with Aaron Rogers or his predecessor. You have to wonder if he wasn’t thinking in the back of his head that it does little good to get down to the red zone which only ends up losing the game by 2 points instead of 5 given the teams history. 8 quarters against the Bears and all the points come from Robbie Gould. We all see how poorly the team does in the red zone. Does anyone think the players don’t notice it too?

  13. The officiating in the NFL is horrendous, and needs to be reformed.
    First of all, there should be full time refs. No part time refs in a league worth 80 billion dollars, with 13 billion in yearly revenues.
    There should be a grading system for refs, and the poor performers get weeded out.
    They should put a ref up in the booth, with a representative from both sides pointing out missed calls. That booth ref could then call down to a ref on the field to throw a flag, or pick up a flag.
    Every play should be reviewable, and every call should be reversible. The main goal should be to get the call right.
    Behind the ref on the back wall, there should be 4 banks of monitors, showing 4 different angles. They should be set in loop, so the ref upstairs can review a play 15 times in 15 seconds. There should be a 30 second rule. If the play cannot be reversed in 30 seconds, the call stands. This would shorten replay. The replays should also flag penalties that were missed, but not if they were on the other side of the field.
    Coaches could use their red flag to challenge plays on the field, and calls by the refs. As long as they are over turned, he gets to keep challenging, but once it is upheld, he loses his red flag option.
    Hopefully, other people can make recommendations that will make it fair for both sides, and more enjoyable for the fans. Right now, the blatant errors, and lack of fairness, are making me question the integrity of the game.

    1. It’s entertaining to listen to these so-called ref experts try to justify a bad call on the networks. Such a fraternity.

      So Gene Steratore was asked what he thought of that bogus PI call on Haden in the end zone of the Steelers game. No ref in his right mind would support that call. Gene says something like, well he was blocked from a good view and maybe there was some touching or holding there. C’mon man.

  14. DJ Swearinger

    Safety Dj Swearinger was just released by the Redskins…’would be a helluva pickup to work with Sherman to solidify our Dbackfield

    1. Sounds interesting. Here’s what Rotoworld has to say:

      Redskins waived S D.J. Swearinger.

      Swearinger said he was called into coach Jay Gruden’s office Monday morning and informed of his release. An every-snap player who had played well this season, the move is a surprise based on the timing, but Swearinger had worn out his welcome in the locker room. The final straw was the safety saying he “probably watches more film than the coaches,” after Washington’s loss to the Titans on Saturday. Swearinger should quickly find a new home, likely with a playoff team.

        1. We need some durability back there. Has there been a game this year where the entire secondary started and finished a game?
          I’d also like to know if that’s true of the WR and RB units?

          1. Agreed.
            I’m not sure if its bad luck or maybe Scott McCloughen was onto something when he only drafted bigger bodied players but this team desperately needs an infusion of toughness, as we have a roster that is S.A.W.F.T.

  15. I suggest we nominate Paul Ogasawara as the newest ref to the NFL.
    He has the know-how, intel and a computer! He’s not afraid to attack all the players as long as they don’t use his real name. (Subninah) Every circus needs a clown after all!

  16. I noticed a number of people referring to a bad 3 play stretch by McGlinchey in which Mack hit Mullens on 3 straight plays. In fact, McGlinchey was only responsible for one of those hits. On the other two he took his man which wasn’t Mack, Kittle was on Mack once and nobody was available to account for him on the 3rd one due to it being a blitz. McGlinchey held up pretty well overall in pass protection.

    1. Rocket, I agree. Mike didn’t have his best game but I thought he held his own for the most part. I’ve seen nothing to change my mind that he’ll be a cornerstone at OT for the 49ers….

      1. The guy plays hard every game and has definitely shown growth.
        Considering the assignments he’s had this year Id say it’s been a good year for McClinchey.
        Next year he will be even better as will the entire line.

    2. On the 2nd one he had Hicks who was also in on the hit of Mullens. He missed his assignment on Smith on his sack. He was the blocker on the play where Floyd got his hand on Mullens arm that they checked whether it was a fumble. He also missed a couple of blocks in the run game and had a false start. Other than that, yeah, he held up pretty well :-P

      1. The reference was to that 3 play stretch that some thought was all on McGlinchey Scooter. He wasn’t responsible for 2 of Mack’s hits. He wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t say he was. Just pointing out that some of the hits being attributed to him were not his fault. Overall considering the fact he was facing some serious pass rush, I thought he held up pretty well.

        1. So on two of the three plays in that stretch he performed poorly, and was responsible for the QB getting hit (Hicks was in on the hit on the second play).

          You also said aside from that one play against Mack he held up pretty well. He didn’t. It wasn’t a good game for him. Nothing wrong with a rookie having a bad game, especially against really good players. I’m not sure why there is a need to try and absolve him.

          1. So on two of the three plays in that stretch he performed poorly, and was responsible for the QB getting hit (Hicks was in on the hit on the second play).

            He had to ride Hicks across the pocket and stayed with him until Hicks knocked him off balance. Yeah Hicks got in on it, but that was a tough assignment and he stayed with him long enough that Mullens gets the pass off if Mack doesn’t get a free run at him.

            You also said aside from that one play against Mack he held up pretty well. He didn’t. It wasn’t a good game for him. Nothing wrong with a rookie having a bad game, especially against really good players. I’m not sure why there is a need to try and absolve him.

            I said he held up pretty well overall in pass protection and he did imo. I watched him stone Mack one on one and deal with some pretty tough assignments throughout the game. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but for having to deal with one of the best pass rushing units in the game 38 times, he held up pretty well.

              1. Yeah but not on purpose. I put in the wrong email sometimes and apparently that one has it’s own avatar.

      2. McGlinchey’s performance yesterday would rate B- for a vet in my book, but an A- for a rookie considering the opposition.

  17. Random thought.
    Last week when Carroll was complaining about the field… we fans made fun of him. I would like to ask, what if he’s right? If the field is truly that bad, and is dangerous for the players to play on, our team has to play on it for 8 games… while everyone else has to play on it for 1. Is it possible that a more dangerous field could lead to more injuries for the 49ers than they would normally experience? Has their been an uptick in certain injuries since moving to the new stadium?

    1. It looked to me like Pettis slipped on the turf with his planting leg just before he was tackled. I think that is when he got hurt. The field is an issue and a danger.

  18. Adam Hoge

    Underrated moment from the #Bears game: Referee Alex Kemp calmly announcing five penalties and three ejections on one play — getting all the numbers correct and pointing in the right directions — in an announcement that lasted 33.72 seconds.
    6:16 AM – Dec 24, 2018

    1. Merry Christmas to you Mood and everyone on this blog, and Happy Holidays for the posters on here that do not celebrate Christmas.

    2. Merry Christmas. Peace on earth and goodwill to all, even my detractors. At least we all love the Niners and wish for more Lombardis.

          1. 👍🏼

            I don’t know how much higher the Jets SOS will go after playing New England. The SOS number is updated real-time as each week passes. However, even with the Pats strong record, it’s not enough to propel us past them since we’re playing the Rams. The Raiders SOS is sufficiently high enough that the latest draft order shouldn’t be affected by us playing a powerhouse team next week.

    1. Yes. The Raiders win tonight moves the 49ers to the second spot in the draft due to SOS. If the 49ers lose against the Rams and the Cardinals somehow win against the Seahawks, then the 49ers stand a very strong chance of moving back into the top pick of the draft.

    1. You are referring to my catfish, but the Christmas spirit beckons me to wish for more peace and understanding in this world, even with the Trump lovers. In the end, we all love being Americans, and want America to be strong and respected by our allies, and feared by our foes.

  19. Merry Christmas my fellow Faithful.
    We might not always see eye to eye with a variety of topics.
    But tis the season to spread live and good will.
    Have a blessed one everybody.

  20. Nice Metal list Razor. BOC was my first concert at 14. Saw them live at the SJ Civic with Journey 1.0, Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Greg Rollie singing. Nazareth was a very underrated band. Their version of “Shapes” is really great.

    Here’s my Metal faves, leaning to Hard Rock a bit more.

    Van Halen
    UFO (saw them live in 78 open for Rush–they killed it)
    The Dictators
    Early Hagar
    Thin Lizzy
    New York Dolls
    Zepp (Of course)
    Rainbow (Graham Bonnett version)
    Deep Purple
    Aerosmith (First three records)
    Any band with Tommy Bolin.
    The Sex Pistols (ultimate metal band actually)
    And for just one song, this band; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Br2_qukNKs

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