CHICAGO – The natural grass at Soldier Field has been widely known for years as a poor surface in inclement weather.
However, when the weather worsened on Sunday, freshly rolled Bermuda grass held up much better than the 49ers in the regular season opener.
The 49ers got swept away in a 19-10 . loss To bears in a game that included exorbitant penalties, turnovers, and simple neglect.
Defensive end Nick Bosa described the team’s inability to win as “disturbing”. There are plenty of other ways to sum it up.
Here are the scores that show their approximate performance in the first week:
The crime of rushing
The 49ers figured out to lean heavily on the running game, and that’s what they did. San Francisco Bears hit the ground in the first inning with 115 yards and an average of 6.4 yards. Elijah Mitchell was knocked out in the first half due to a knee injury.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel scored his first game touchdown at 6 yards.
But he also made his first costly foul of the game when he fumbled in an ongoing play in the second quarter when 49 players passed the ball to the 12-yard line in Chicago.
The 49ers found achieving yards more difficult in the second half but finished with a 176 yard dash and an average of 4.8.
Quarterback Tree Lance was the leading rider in the 49ers with 54 yards, while Samuel earned 52 yards.
Class: B – minus
Lance, in his prime after officially taking over Jimmy Garoppolo, played an up and down match. He opened his press conference with a list of the mistakes he made, including knocking out Tyler Croft’s court finish on what should have been an early landing.
When the 49ers were playing from behind in the fourth quarter, Lance Bears didn’t see Eddie Jackson’s safety. This interception gave the Bears a short range that was used to attack the touchdown with a nine-point lead.
Items played a role in this game. Lance completed 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards. But Lance took full responsibility.
Jauan Jennings was the team’s leading receiver with four catches for 64 yards. Brandon Ayuk caught two passes for 40 yards, and Lance only hooked twice with Samuel (in eight attempts) for 14 yards.
The 49ers’ defense was solid from start to finish. Chicago’s David Montgomery had a particularly difficult time finding any space to run. He was held at just 26 yards in 17 lunge attempts.
The Bears gained 99 yards in 37 lunge attempts. Khalil Herbert averaged 5.0 yards per attempt and gave Chicago a nine-point lead with a 3-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
The 49 players had six tackles to lose, including two from Talanoa Huvanga. He had 11 tackles high for the team, and linebacker Fred Warner added six tackles.
But the 49ers also made some mistakes as part of their running defense. Dre Greenlaw was summoned for two punishments: an unnecessary roughness and a face mask. Both appeals were called into question.
But there was no doubt about a foul from Aziz Al Shaer, who delivered a late kick on Justin Fields’ 15-yard slip.
Class: b plus
The 49 yards allowed only 19 yards in the first half. This included sacks by Samson Ebukam and Nick Bosa, as well as Hufanga’s interception.
But one play completely changed the momentum of this game.
The 49ers had a seemingly comfortable 10-0 lead in the third quarter when Fields avoided Eric Armstead’s dash, moved left, and then ran back across the field. To reveal Dante Pettis on the right side. The 49ers minor didn’t do a great job following Pettis, who turned him into a 51-yard touchdown.
This play eliminated a lot of the good things that 49 players did in this game. Gave the bears momentum.
Fields finished the game with only eight completions in 17 attempts for 121 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Class: B – minus
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had a solid game, averaging a net 40.3 yards and three kicks inside the 20-yard line on his four attempts. Tarvarius Moore made a nice play when he ran on cover gambling and brought down Pettis for a return of less than 3 yards.
Ruby Gold handled the starting duties, as the Bears opened those engines to the 23, 25, and 28 yard lines. Gould also made a field goal with 25 yards and an extra point.
If we blame Penalties and Miscellaneous Purchases In training, this is a failing grade. And sure enough, coaching has to absorb its share of the blame for the product the 49ers have put on the field.
An immediate second guess was coach Kyle Shanahan’s decision to take the challenge to complete a pass that was just a 4 yard gain in first and tenth. However, the drop-and-distance game may have contributed to Fields’ interception for third place.
The 49ers didn’t get any points.
Things looked sloppy along the way, so there’s plenty to clean up as the 49ers of their squad are back in action for their week two game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Obviously, this was a game that 49 players had to win. But they let a lot of scoring opportunities slip by. Next thing anyone knows, the bears stayed there—just one big game away from the dramatic shift in momentum.
It’s too early to be concerned about this kind of performance. But it was also a shocking way for a team with Super Bowl aspirations to open the season.
You may have noticed that we didn’t give a failing grade for any specific unit on the team. But the overall score is a big fail.
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