THE GAME POEM
He dusts a trophy from his highest shelf each night
Reading a name no longer known
His hand moves slowly, left to right
Like brushing leaves off a tombstone of his own
THREE THOUGHTS ON THE 49ERS
- Vance McDonald is developing into a solid tight end and has more catches the last two weeks with Blaine Gabbert under center (10) than in the rest of the season combined (9). The Bears have struggled, especially early, patrolling the middle of the field. They’ll need to be aware of McDonald all afternoon.
- San Francisco is an atrocious road team. They have been outscored 176-71.
- This team is just so damn boring to watch play offense on tape. They’re a worse version of the Chiefs, with everything being thrown underneath and no faith in their pass protections. They have the players to make a few big gains (Boldin, Smith, McDonald) but there’s no consistency from them…ever. This offense is taylor made for the Bears defensive strengths.
PICTURE IF YOU WILL…
…the 2015 Chicago Bears without Adam Gase and Vic Fangio. Well, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area wrote a wonderful column detailing how close the 49ers were to having a Gase/Fangio combination leading their organization. An excerpt:
On Jan. 13, the eve of the 49ers hiring the man who would become Harbaugh’s successor, most of the signs pointed toward Gase getting the job.
Baalke, who was in charge of hiring the 49ers’ next coach, spent 8 ½ hours with Gase in the Denver area for a follow-up interview. Then, Baalke had an hours-long dinner with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who gave Gase a resounding recommendation, according to sources.
Gase’s plan was to handle the offense and turn over the defense to Fangio, whom he felt he could convince to remain on the 49ers’ staff. Multiple sources later said that Fangio, indeed, would have remained with the 49ers on Gase’s staff.
Baalke floated the idea of Tomsula taking over as defensive coordinator, a source said. While Gase wanted to retain Tomsula as defensive line coach with a title promotion, a source said, he did not want to turn the defense over to a coach who had no experience working in the secondary. Sources said Baalke never stressed to Gase during the interview process that if Tomsula was not defensive coordinator it would be a deal-breaker.
Read the entire piece by clicking the link above. It’s well worth a few minutes.
MEMORIES OF KAEPERNICK
It was only a few years ago that Colin Kaepernick made his debut against the Chicago Bears and ripped a then pretty good defense to shreds. And I remember sitting in a restaurant in East Hampton, in a haze of booze from a day of drinking, watching Kaepernick deliver one of the greatest rushing performances in NFL postseason history against the Green Bay Packers. (I later fell down walking to the bathroom.) Amazing this career has careened into the toilet.
WATCH OUT FOR IAN WILLIAMS
Nose guard Ian Williams was outstanding and dominated Cardinals center Lyle Sendein. During one drive in the second quarter, Williams shed a block from Mike Iupati and tackled Andre Ellington for a 3-yard gain. On the next play, third-and-short, Williams threw Sendein aside, which allowed Michael Wilhoite to run free and hit Ellington for a loss. Williams also had an interesting moment with Carson Palmer. He hit him in the head after a completion and the officials didn’t see it. Williams then said something to Palmer, probably saying he didn’t mean it, and Palmer respectfully patted him on the helmet.
Will be interesting to see how Hroniss Grasu handles a surging player.
THIS SEEMS A PERTINENT STAT
The Niners offense is…poor. Worst in yardage. Worst in points.
THREE BEARS OF INTRIGUE
- This doesn’t feel like a game the Bears will need a lot of points to win but one thing Jay Cutler can’t do is turn the ball over. Turnovers might be the only way for the Niners to keep this game close for four quarters. Cutler can lead the Bears to victory with a mundane 210 yards, 2 TDs, no INTs.
- Under pressure, Gabbert will dump the ball off every chance he gets. Pernell McPhee has dropped into the background a bit due to injury while Lamarr Houston and Willie Young have picked up the slack. Against mismatches, this feels like as opportunity for McPhee to pile up some numbers.
- Charles Leno Jr. usurping Jermon Bushrod in the starting lineup and playing well has been one of the quietly positive storylines of the 2015 season. These final five games are pivotal for Leno’s future.
The Niners have scored 13 points in each of their last two games. And neither the Seahawks nor Cardinals defense is currently playing as well as Vic Fangio’s unit. (The previous statement is mind-blowing to me.) If the Bears are good, if they are a legitimately good team, this game is a snoozer in the fourth quarter.
Chicago Bears 30, San Francisco 49ers 13