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Stat Review: The 49ers outgained the Bears by 1.3 yards per play

The box score suggests the 49ers should have dominated the game

San Francisco 49ers v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The 49ers fell to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on a rainy Sunday, 19-10. Statistics can tell a part of the story, but something about this game and the stats are baffling. Sure, the weather was a factor for both teams. However, blindly looking at some statistics without the final score would imply a completely different outcome for the 49ers.

The Bears passed for 105 yards on 17 attempts and gained 97 yards on 37 rushing attempts. 2.7 yards per carry while amassing ten offensive first downs should be good news for the 49ers. Conversely, the 49ers had 11 rushing first downs alone. Matching the Bears in rushing attempts led the 49ers to 176 rushing yards.

Outgaining your opponent by 127 yards (331-204) generally leads to a victory. On 67 offensive plays, the 49ers gained 4.9 yards per play compared to 56 and 3.6 for the Bears. Toss in 155 passing yards to the Bears’ 105, and the 49ers should secure the win.

Well, that’s the thing. The 49ers led in nearly every statistical category. That includes turnovers and penalties. That’s where the 49ers faltered. Three turnovers and 12 penalties for 99 yards will certainly lead any team to a loss. Third-down penalties extended drives which led to broken plays for long touchdowns. Five penalties led to first downs for the Bears. Turnovers ended potential scoring drives.

Luckily, this can be viewed as a one-off for the 49ers. Consider the lack of reps for the starters in pre-season, the weather, and the inexperience of Trey Lance, and it became a perfect storm of sorts for a 49ers loss. Of all the statistics the 49ers held an advantage in, turnovers and penalties are the worst to lead in. The result ends with your opposition scoring more points than you, and THAT is the most important statistic.