The Chicago Bears brought some old-fashioned smash-mouth football to Santa Clara Sunday afternoon. They shut down the 49ers running game, then shut down their passing game, then shut them out in the second half, and finally sent 25% of the team limping off to the trainer’s room for good measure.
Even so, the game went down to the wire because the Bears didn’t bring much of an offense with them, either. Mitch Trubisky‘s stats looked good – 25 for 29 – but it was only good for two TDs and a ten minute edge in TOP.
Each team took a stab at boneheading the game away in the final two minutes. The Bears tried first when idiot WR Allen Robinson caught a third and three pass for a first down on the first play after the two minute warning – giving the Bears a simple kneel out victory, but Robinson decided to show what a stud he was and proceeded to fumble away the clincher instead, gifting the Niners with plenty of time to march downfield and win the game.
However, not to be outdone, a few plays later, Nick Mullens ignored an easy scramble for a first down to instead launch a desperate fourth down pass that went incomplete and ended the game anyway.
The loss kept the Niners in contention for last place in the NFC West and for a top three pick in next year’s draft. The win kept the Bears in contention for the number two seed in the NFC playoffs. If they beat Minnesota next Sunday, the Rams will have to beat the 49ers to earn the two seed. If the Bears lose (and they play the early game), the Rams won’t have to do anything but catch some Zs in the season finale.
The loss also guaranteed the Niners will finish with a worse record this year than last year. But with the emergence of Mullens and some fellows on the defense, next year’s squad will have far superior depth. An injury to a starter won’t completely derail the team, like Jimmy Garoppolo‘s injury did this year.
Unfortunately, depth doesn’t win a lot of games in the NFL. You still need quality starters and the 49ers have a ways to go in that regard.