The 49ers entered Monday Night Football with plenty of question marks after a Week 10 tie and then losing their starting quarterback to injury. Through the first half of their Week 11 matchup with the Chicago Bears, the answers have been rather pleasing to the eye. Things have gone just about as well as could be expected, with Colin Kaepernick leading a domination of the Bears defense, and Aldon Smith thorough manhandling the Bears offensive line.
Kaepernick started the first quarter 7 of 8 for 126 yards and a touchdown, and finished the half 12 of 15 for 184 yards and that touchdown. He has added in six yards on scrambling, but this first half has been all about his ability in the pocket. He has had excellent accuracy, he has found open receivers and he has not shown the kind of nerves that can lead to mistakes.
Normally I'd say he would benefit from the run game, but the run game has actually benefited from Kaepernick's performance. The Bears loaded up eight and nine men in the box and Kaepernick has burned them repeatedly. This has opened up running lanes, and Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have subsequently rushed 14 times for 70 yards. They have turned the Bears defense into swiss cheese.
On defense, Aldon Smith is having a monster game. He has sacked Jason Campbell three times, and now trails Von Miller by only a half a sack for the NFL lead. I figured Campbell would go down, but I did not see it happening this easily and this frequently. The defense as a whole is looking sharp, and will look to continue that in the second half.
The Bears will start the second half with the ball, so a quick three and out would be nice. The 49ers have the Bears on the ropes and scrambling to clinch. It's time for the knockout punch.