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Do the 49ers lack a killer instinct, or was it just a matter of execution?

The 49ers struggled in the second half en route to a 28-20 loss to the Bears. Did the team lack the killer instinct in blowing a 17-0 lead? Or was it more about poor execution?

Ezra Shaw

The San Francisco 49ers dropped an embarrassing 28-20 loss to the Chicago bears on Sunday, with poor decisions and penalties costing the team. After the game, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree were among several 49ers that talked about lacking a killer instinct. Boldin said the team has to put their foot to the opponent's throat when they've built a lead. Crabtree talked about needing to improve in a lot of areas, and figure out that killer instinct.

There is one specific example of what might be a lack of a killer instinct. In the third quarter, the 49ers received the opening kickoff and started at their own 10. They methodically moved down the field, and found themselves facing a 3rd and 6 at the Bears 7 yard line. Rather than take a shot at the end zone, the 49ers ran what I believe was a shotgun handoff. Frank Gore gained a yard, and Phil Dawson came out to kick the field goal. Those were the 49ers final points of the game.

After thinking on it, I would actually contend the 49ers did try and go for the jugular. The problem did not strike me as lack of a killer instinct, so much as lack of execution in going for said jugular. After the field goal, the Bears drove down and scored a touchdown to cut the 49ers lead to 20-14. On the ensuing 49ers drive, Colin Kaepernick threw an interception on the first play. The Bears scored on the next play to take a 21-20 lead. The 49ers followed that up with a 6-play, 1 penalty drive that ended with a Kap pick on a pass to Derek Carrier. That drive included four pass attempts, one sack, and one run.

The 49ers lost this game because of poor execution and penalties. Whatever you want to say about the refs, the 49ers did plenty on their own to shoot themselves in the foot. Aside from the 3rd and 6 handoff to live with the field goal, it really did seem more of an execution issue.