Pro Football Focus passed along their gradebook for the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 loss to the Chicago Bears, and I thought I would share some of the more interesting information to come from that. You can also read their "Re-Fo" article on the game. I'd also recommend giving Matt Barrows's film review a read.
If you have any questions about PFF grades or stats, let me know. I can't go in and copy and paste all their content here because they make a living off that information. However, I can provide some details. And if you have any questions about their process, let me know and I can talk to Jeff Deeney, who is available to answer questions as best he can.
Usual disclaimer: No one stat or grade or measurement is the be-all, end-all when analyzing performance. However, each stat can provide a little something extra to figuring out the bigger picture. If you get a minute, I highly recommend reading this 2-part series (Part 1, Part 2) at our Eagles blog, taking a look at their system.
Jonathan Martin was schooled on a pair of sacks in the fourth quarter, and generally had a poor game, but really this performance was on the offensive line as a whole. Joe Staley had two penalties on the day, and really is not looking quite like his normal self. Mike Iupati gave up a couple QB pressures.
Shea McCellin sacked Colin Kaepernick early in the fourth quarter, and it came after beating Iupati. It appears PFF put this sack on Kap, but at the very least I'd give Iupati half a sack on that one. Iupati actually finished with a 1.8 grade, with 1.8 in run blocking, -0.2 in pass blocking, and 0.2 in the penalty category.
All that being said, Martin was absolutely schooled by Willie Young in the fourth quarter on a pair of sacks. Martin finished with a -1.2 grade. It came from -0.3 in pass blocking, -0.2 in run blocking, and -0.7 for penalties.
One of the interesting Kap stats: When he was blitzed (11 drop-backs), Kap was 5 of 8 for 46 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a 117.7 passer rating. When he was not blitzed (31 drop-backs), Kap was 16 of 26 for 202 yards, 3 interceptions, and a 46.2 passer rating.
There is plenty that goes into that, but I do wonder how much we continue to see less and less blitzing against Kap. A blitz can force a bad decision or a sack, but in the case of Kap, it potentially opens up running lanes, and of course means somebody is potentially uncovered.
Of course, the Bears also still managed to get a good deal of pressure without blitzing, and that falls back on the offensive line. Why send an extra man when you clearly don't need to? Kap made some bad decisions, including staring down some of his receivers, but the offensive line needs to square things away, and soon.
49ers second-year outside linebacker Corey Lemonier is not off to a strong start. Through 50 pass rushes over two games, Corey Lemonier has yet to register a QB pressure. Meanwhile, Aaron Lynch was listed with a QB hurry, and he was instrumental in Justin Smith getting his sack. Lynch had 18 snaps, a week after getting 20 snaps. He finished the game with a -0.5 grade, primarily because of -0.6 against the run. However, he also had a 1.4 special teams grade thanks to his punt block. Lynch may not get a ton of new playing time, but he's justified at least some measure of consistent playing time.
Jimmie's not a tall man
When your red zone defensive strategy involves putting a 5'10 defensive back on a 6'4 wide receiver, I don't think you can be all that shocked if things go bad. Ward was on Marshall for all three of his touchdowns, and that resulted in a -1.6 grade for him.
I get that the 49ers have their outside corners and their inside corners, but at some point, do you consider going to 6'2 Dontae Johnson, or 6'2 Chris Cook? I ask because Ward actually was all over Marshall. His location was not the problem. His height was the problem. When the 49ers face other tall receivers in similar situations, do they continue doing that? Or do they go to a bigger corner? When you get into the red zone, technique remains an issue, but pure size and physicality seems just a little bit more important. Maybe somebody with a better football mind can help explain this to me.
Patrick Willis remains Patrick Willis
I'll end on a positive note. Patrick Willis is really good.
OK, I think we all knew that, but once again he was a force in the middle. Every time Matt Forte was strung down the line and tackled for a loss or a short gain, it seems like they were announcing Willis with the tackle. The 49ers needed him to step up with NaVorro Bowman sidelined, and Willis has done so. His speed is key in the run game, but he remains so strong in coverage. He finished the game having given up two receptions for 14 yards to Martellus Bennett, and one reception for two yards to Matt Forte. He was all over the place, and will be so important to this defense while they wait for Bowman's return (and even during the early part of his return when he might not be back to his old self).