Traditionally, when the Chicago Bears are in the National focus that brings with it some form of embarrassment for the team. Though, for whatever reason, the Bears’ National Television woes have yet to catch up with the team on Monday Night Football. Lovie Smith and the Bears have traditionally excelled on Monday night’s, that is until this Monday night against the 49ers.
It was a roller coaster of a road leading up to the Bears’ game against the 49ers on Monday night. The road began last week when both 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith and Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a concussion during their week 10 games. The Bears were quick to rule Cutler out for Monday night’s game, as the team announced on Friday that Jason Campbell would be the starting quarterback. That made the 49ers the overwhelming favorites. That is because at the time that the Bears’ announced Campbell as the starting quarterback, it was believed that Smith would be the starting quarterback for 49ers on Monday. Smith was not the 49ers’ quarterback on Monday, as second year player Colin Kaepernick received the start against the Bears. At that point, there was increased optimism for the Bears’ chances as Campbell, as a veteran, would seemingly have the advantage over Kaepernick, who was making his first career start in the National Football League. Don’t tell that to Kaepernick, who behind a 20 point first half, led the 49ers to a 32 to 7 victory over the Chicago Bears.
The Bears Defense Collapses
- Chicago Bears Head Coach Loving Smith has said numerous times this season that Bears’ offense would be needed to win games during the second half of the season. Monday night against the 49ers was one of those games. On Monday night, it seemed as if you blinked you would have missed a 49ers’ scoring drive. One of the noticeable failures of the Bears’ defense during Monday’s game was poor tackling. Part of me wonders if the Bears fell in love with the hype that was circulated over Peanut Tillman’s ball punch. There were several occasions during the Bears’ game on Monday where the Bears’ missed tackles on defense stemmed from the defensive player going for the ball punch first as opposed to making the tackle. 49ers’ Running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter in addition to receivers Kyle Williams, Mario Manningham, and tight end Vernon Davis all took advantage of Bears’ miscues on Defense. The Bears’ are one of the most opportune defenses in of the National Football League, on Monday, that proved to hurt the team.
Mike Tice’s Game Calling
- Mike Tice’s first season as the team’s offensive coordinator is not going well. That statement has not held more truth this season than it has tonight. Say what you will about the Bears’ offensive line, and believe me much can be said about how bad the Bears’ offensive line was on Monday night, but Tice’s game calling on Monday night was worse. Entering the game, the thought was that Bears would finally be able to establish a running game with Matt Forte. The issue with that is that an offensive coordinator has to be willing to make adjustments during the game. While Tice has a reputation for making successful half-time adjustments, those half-time adjustments are irrelevant if the team is already facing a 20 point deficit. The Bears did show a commitment to the run with Forte, but that commitment came when the Bears’ should have been passing.
The Quarterback Play
- Colin Kaepernick proved why many in San Francisco feel that he is the future starting quarterback for the 49ers. In fact, the future may have started on Monday night as the second year quarterback went 16 for 23 for a total of 243 yards while throwing two touchdown passes in place of the concussed Smith. No matter what look the Bears’ defense showed, Kaepernick had an answer for it. Meanwhile, Jason Campbell struggled in his first start as a member of the Chicago Bears. Campbell went 14 for 22 on the night while throwing two interceptions. The lone bright spot for Campbell was a third quarter touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. Though, to be honest, Campbell’s struggles against the 49ers on Monday night could largely be attributed to the inept offensive line of the Bears.
The Offensive Line Disappears
- Let me know if you saw the Bears’ offensive line on Monday night, because I sure could not find them. It seemed as if every time Campbell dropped back he was countered with pressure that came uncontested by what is supposed to be the Bears’ offensive line. The 49ers’ defense finished with a total of 5 sacks to go along with 11 quarterback hits. If the Bears’ offense is going to find any success this season, then it is going to start with the offensive line. Unfortunately, the Bears’ offensive line has shown minimal improvement over these past two seasons. That would be the reason why backup quarterbacks will always have a home with the Bears, because it is nearly an impossible task for Cutler to remain healthy for the entirety of a season.
The Bears are now tied with the Green Bay Packers atop the NFC North division, though with a victory over the Bears in week 2, the Packers hold the tie-breaker.