Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:November 16th, 2009 15:00 EST
Bears and 49ers in Thursday "Showcase" Game

Bears and 49ers in Thursday "Showcase" Game

By Geoff Dean

 I love football and the NFL. Don`t you? (I reckon you do if you are bothering to read this.) Goal line stands, long bombs, blocked field goals, breakaway runs, and so much more. None of which was on display Thursday night in San Francisco.

 The recent 49ers-Bears tilt (not so recent, I admit. I live in Tokyo so I get the Thursday night game on Friday morning and it`s taken me from then until now to recover from the game!) was one of those that makes even a football fan wonder why in the expletive deleted he or she watches this game. The game was so bad that I couldn`t help watching until the end because sooner or later, something good was bound to happen. I just guess no one told that to the teams involved.

 The funny thing is that both teams were well rested, relatively injury free, and both are on the margins of the playoffs, meaning they had a lot on the line, with national exposure to boot. Still, it seemed for most of the night a question of which team wanted to win less, rather than more.

 The offense of the 49ers could be summed up in one name. Frank Gore. Run Gore to the right. Run him up the middle. Around the end. Screen pass to Gore. No disrespect to Coach Mike Singletary, a man I normally consider wise, but I could have called that kind of game. And yet, Gore had his own "incovenient truth". The Bears could not stop him. He`d pick up three or four on first down, three or four on second, and another three or four on third, and the chains would move. Surely, the Bears got the idea but they still couldn`t seem to stop him. Not that it added up to many points from the Niners, anyway.

 That was in large part because of the seeming lack of faith the 49ers put in Alex Smith. I heard that he was an "up and coming" young quarterback, and he may be, but he won`t "come up" very far if all he does is hand off to Gore and throw the occasional ten yard pass. And a team with a little more of a defense than the Bears, won`t have much trouble shutting the Niners down.

 Having insulted the Bears` defense, let me say, in all fairness, the Bears` offense was worse. Jay Cutler threw five interceptions but, at least, a few of those passes were tight spirals, well thrown balls, if to the wrong team. Most of the other passes by Jay were wobbly and awful, although not as bad as Alex Smith`s attempts at shovel passes. This probably came from the fact that there were a lot of bad snaps and Jay seemed to be stumbling around a lot. Not to be outdone, the 49ers had their fair share of bad snaps, as well. I`m sorry but if you can`t snap the ball cleanly, what are you going to be able to do? Almost every long run, long pass, big play, shares the fact that it began with a good snap. A bad snap can be overcome, of course, but let`s leave that to Joe Montana. Jay and Alex started out any number of plays wrongfooted and in trouble even before things really got going.

 The amazing thing about this lousy game was it turned into a barnburner and came down to the last play, mostly because both teams were almost too inept to win. The 49ers ran down the clock in the fourth quarter with run after run, until finally even the Bears caught on and stopped them. The Bears then, with little time left, got down to taking their sweet time on each play. It was some of the worst clock management that I`ve ever seen. Still, when stopped on fourth down, they were gifted a first by a boneheaded penalty on the 49ers. The 49ers then went into a prevent defense that prevented nothing, and let the Bears cruise down the field, giving them three shots at the end zone from the ten.

 This led to the only appropriate conclusion to this kind of game, Jay Cutler throwing a game losing interception on the final play.

 Will heads roll? My eyes sure did. But by virtue of the virtueless win, the 49ers remain in hot playoff pursuit. Still, after this game, I can`t believe either of these teams will be having a happy new year in the playoffs. Somehow or other, they will manage to lose enough to let in some other teams that want it more (the Lions, perhaps?)