The San Francisco 49ers showed all sorts of second half quit in Week 13, as they lost to the Chicago Bears by a final score of 26-6. The 49ers led the Bears 6-0 in the snow, and it looked like they might be able to pull out their second win of the season. Instead, they fell apart in all phases of the game and dropped to 1-11.
The 49ers all but entirely abandoned the passing game in the snow. Colin Kaepernick attempted four passes, finishing the game 1-of-5 for 4 yards. He was sacked five times for a loss of 25 yards, resulting in a net passing total of -21 yards. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Blaine Gabbert. The backup completed his 4-of-10 passes for 35 yards. I’m not entirely sure why Kaepernick only got five pass attempts the first three quarters.
The 49ers got off to a decent start on defense and special teams. The game was tied at zero in the second quarter when Dontae Johnson recovered a blocked punt and ran it back for an apparent score. He stepped out of bounds at the 4, but that got pushed back 15 yards on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The 49ers could not move the ball on offense and settled for a field goal. They added a second field goal after the 2-minute warning to take a 6-0 lead.
Things quickly went south however. The 49ers called a pair of timeouts and the Bears had 3rd and 5 at their own 24 with 1:43 to go. That somehow sparked the Bears, as they proceeded to drive 76 yards for a touchdown on five plays and a pass interference penalty. Tramaine Brock was flagged for the PI call, and while he did have his hand on the receiver’s hip, he was not pulling on him. It set up 1st and goal at the 1 and Jordan Howard easily scored to give the Bears a 7-6 lead.
Matt Barkley found a rhythm at this point, and the Bears offense moved the ball with solid efficiency in the third quarter. Barkley finished the game 11 of 18 for 192 yards. Howard rushed for 117 yards and had three rushing touchdowns. The defense seemed to essentially give up on the third of Howard’s touchdowns. He was bottled up at the line, but just bulldozed his way forward and the 49ers defense just laid down.
And that felt like a lot of what we saw in the second half. The 49ers had chances to take over this game in the first half, and could not do enough. Once the Bears got a touchdown on the board late in the second quarter, the second half collapse just seemed inevitable.
Up next: vs. New York Jets (3-8)
The 49ers are back home in Week 14, and it will be their second straight matchup with sizable draft order implications. Every game has those implications for the 49ers, but they face a Jets team sitting at 3-8 and playing on Monday against the Indianapolis Colts. Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to play next Sunday, but the bigger “concern” will be facing running back Matt Forte.