There’s no sugar coating this one. On a night that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, the San Francisco 49ers put together an epic stinker of a performance against the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. The “Field of Jeans” opened in front of a national television audience, and it was littered with the wrong type of laundry as the 49ers accumulated 16 total penalties for 118 yards. Let’s take a look at some of the things I think I know.
Colin Kaepernick will always have his detractors.
It’s a constant, tough position to be in as a quarterback. There’s no position in professional sports analyzed so intently than the lead signal caller. When things go well, like last week, it’s a great feeling. But, as Sunday night’s performance shows, there’s two sides to every coin. Kaepernick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Four turnovers are simply too much to overcome against even the most depleted of defenses.
Even with all the recognition, magazine covers, and of course the money, I feel for Colin Kaepernick. He plays for a franchise with some of the most storied quarterbacks in the history of the game. In this era of social media, his play and personality are analyzed beyond belief. A portion of his own fan base lash out at his every move. But, I’m not one of them. The 49ers are two games into the 2014 season. To “lose faith” in Colin Kaepernick is boldly absurd. He’s the guy. So get on board, and stay on board.
It’s the offense’s slack to pick up.
I know. I know I know. There’s no Aldon Smith. There’s no NaVorro Bowman. There’s no Glenn Dorsey either. Tramaine Brock was out with injury too. The list is substantial. In reviewing the game, the 49ers defense as a whole played pretty well. It’s quite obvious that the 49ers need to cut back on the penalties. But, combating injuries and an offense that committed four turnovers would hamstring any defense. Allowing 216 yards of total offense is impressive nonetheless.
That’s where the offensive unit as a whole let the team down. The offense lacked rhythm and cohesion all game long. Their only two touchdowns came on short fields. Aaron Lynch blocked an opening series punt that set up a 3 play 8 total yards touchdown. A 19 yard Bruce Ellington punt return was the precursor to the 49ers second touchdown that went 4 plays for 30 yards. It was an enigmatic showing from the 49ers offense that needs to correct itself in a hurry with the Arizona Cardinals game looming.
Where’s the youth movement?
If someone, anyone, wants to explain this to me, I’m all ears. The lack of play from players like Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, and Aaron Lynch is puzzling. Believe me you, I fully understand that there are idiosyncrasies within the game that I don’t understand, but the fact that we rarely see these three is baffling. Their talent level appears through the roof in my layman’s eyes. I’m not anointing any of these men starters. In fact, my one hope within the NFL is that Justin Smith can play forever. But, the fact that these three aren’t primary backups getting substantial reps has yet to make sense to me.
Greg Roman gave ammo to his detractors.
Any coordinator within the sport of football is going to come into question substantially. For better or worse, it’s the nature of what, we, the fans do.
The 49ers opened the second half leading the game 17-7 and the opportunity to punch the Bears square in the gut. The drive was the impressive, sustaining type that the 49ers had lacked all game long. Kaepernick and company completed a mix of plays that marched the team down the field. Upon reaching the Bears 6 yard line with a 1st and 5, the Niners attempted 3 consecutive bland running plays
1st &5: Frank Gore ran up the middle for 1 yard.
2&4: Carlos Hyde ran up the middle for -2. yards.
3&6: Frank fore ran up the middle for 1 yard.
Seriously, Greg? That’s what you cap a post half time, lengthy drive with. The Bears stacked the box heavily all night long, and that’s your 3-down play calling? Phil Dawson proceeded to knock through a 24 yard field goal giving the 49ers a 20-7 lead. Instead of stomping on the jugular, the 49ers played tentatively in proceeding to lose the game.
Yeah, but it was still just one game.
We mentioned it on Twitter last night. One bad game week does not a season make, but that doesn’t make last night’s result any less frustrating. Overall, it was just a plain bad game for the opening of Levi’s Stadium. There will be plenty more games at the new stadium though, just as there are plenty more games to play this season. So, after taking a deep breath as a fan base, let’s garner some perspective and realize it’s all out there for the 2014 version of the San Francisc0 49ers.