We are starting to see a pattern here. The Bears will play a sometimes dominant brand of football on gameday but lose because their head coach is too conservative. Today was no exception. The Bears dominated time of possession and first downs and spent a good portion of their day on the San Francisco side of the 50-yard line. Yet it was routinely 4th and less than 2 yards, and Fox would never go for it and punt. Late in the 4th quarter today after San Francisco tied the game after a 44-yard touchdown run by Blaine Gabbert with 1:42 to go, the Bears Deonte Thompson had a 74 yard kick return. San Francisco had no timeouts and John Fox elected to have Jay Cutler take a knee despite having the ball at around the 20 yard line. Fox could have chosen to run a few plays, tried to score a touchdown, and win the game. Instead he had Robbie Gould try a field goal in Soldier Field in December from about 40 yards and Gould missed, it was his second miss of the day. The game would proceed to go into overtime, where each team got possessions but the third possession the Niners and Gabbert would complete a 71 yard pass to Torrey Smith and he would walk into the end zone for the winning touchdown with Chicago losing 26-20.
Jay Cutler was erratic all day, missing several throws and throwing a interception to San Francisco’s Jimmie Ward, who returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. The ball should have never been thrown. It seemed Cutler predetermined where he was going to go with the football instead of reading the coverage and he never saw Ward. Cutler finished 18 for 31 for 202 yards, no touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. Martellus Bennett was in and out of the game due to injuries and Cutler seemingly has no one he trusts in passing game but Alshon Jeffrey and Matt Forte. Forte again had over 100 total yards and had 21 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The defense for the most part played well and should have never been put in that position in overtime, but in the end faltered after playing 5 quarters. Blaine Gabbert finished 18 for 32 for 196 yards and a touchdown. Gabbert also ran 6 times for 75 yards and a touchdown. Before the 71 yard pass in overtime, Gabbert had only threw for 125 yards. It is usually very good for your football team when you keep the quarterback under 200 yards passing and in turn have the quarterback be the opposition’s leading rusher but the Bears couldn’t contain Gabbert when it mattered. They did sack Gabbert 4 times but when it mattered most, Gabbert always seemed to be escaping and extending plays.
In the end the Bears fall to 5-7 and play Washington next Sunday in Chicago. The Forty-Niners improve to 4-8 but are out of the playoff race. This afternoon was very likely the end of Chicago’s playoff hopes.
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