It's been a while since I rolled out a little Ice Cube to celebrate a 49ers win, but if any win was deserving of it, this had to be the one. The 49ers put together a total team effort and thoroughly decimated a Bears team that was riding the press clippings of a dominant defense. The win improves the 49ers to 7-2-1, giving them the second best record in the conference. There are still six games remaining, so a lot can change, but the 49ers have found something to build from moving forward.
We'll have plenty of content covering the quarterback battle/controversy/whatever in the coming day, but I thought I'd close the evening just giving people a chance to enjoy what we saw across the board. If you want to do battle over Smith vs. Kaep, keep it in this thread. This game was too much fun to not take some time to enjoy everything that went down without thinking about what it all means beyond the beatdown that it was.
On the offensive side of the ball, obviously Colin Kaepernick was the star. However, the offensive line did a great job keeping him on his feet and giving him time to make his reads. The line struggled a bit in the run game early, but with eight and nine Bears in the box, run blocking can be a bit difficult.
Once the passing game did get going, it opened up the holes for the running game, and Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter blew through them. The two backs combined for 105 yards on 22 carries, including a 14-yard touchdown run for Hunter. Frank Gore gashed the Bears front seven, and Kendall Hunter did his usual excellent work hitting the edges on sweeps.
The passing game was wide open as Kaepernick was finding connections all night long. He had a big 57-yard hook-up with Kyle Williams to set up Vernon Davis' touchdown reception. He also connected with Mario Manningham on a 37-yard catch and run that eventually set up Michael Crabtree's touchdown reception.
On the defensive side of the ball, it was thorough domination in all aspects of the game. Aldon Smith led the way for a pass rush that had no trouble getting through the Bears papier mache offensive line. Justin Smith has gotten a lot of talk about how he provides a significant benefit to Aldon Smith's pass rushing. While that is correct in some instances, Monday night saw Aldon Smith showing a crazy array of one-on-one moves against multiple members of the Bears offensive line.
Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman bounced back from what they might consider poor performances against the St. Louis Rams and were dominant over the middle and against the run. The Bears could get nothing going, particularly outside the tackle box, and Willis/Bowman were a key part of this.
The 49ers defense as a whole hopefully learned something from a rather piss-poor first quarter effort against the Rams. The defense came out with something to prove, and even though Jason Campbell is no Jay Cutler, the 49ers defense made their own statement . The Bears could get nothing going and it was pretty spectacular to watch. Now we just need to see the 49ers defense maintain this focus every week.
When this team is clicking on all cylinders, they are as good as anybody out there. I won't say they are unstoppable, but at their best, the 49ers are a Super Bowl contender. It is as simple as that. Whether it is Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith, this team can win the Super Bowl and they showed some of the things they can do to make that happen. The 49ers had shown some inconsistencies in parts of this season, and this game serves as a sort of reinvigoration for me. I was always excited for 49ers football, but this game has reenergized me. I may need that energy to put up with the QB squabbles here, but it's energy nonetheless!