It turned out that Alex Smith did not play last night’s game for the 49ers after failing to clear a necessary medical test relating to the concussion he sustained last week. The team knew early Monday morning that Smith would not be used and they didn’t seem to mind.
By the lead of their back up QB Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers brought the hurt to the Chicago Bears as they won on Monday night 32-7 in Candlestick. The 49ers managed to shutdown the Bears in the first half while their offense managed to score 20 points in their first 4 drives of the game. San Francisco improves to 7-2-1 while Chicago falls to 7-3.
Colin Kaepernick emerged as a star on the national stage going 16/23 for 243 passing yards and 2 TD passes vs. the tough Chicago Bears defense, all in his first NFL start.
“I think after the first drive I felt really comfortable with what they were doing and what we had in our game plan,” Kaepernick said. “I really wasn’t too nervous. I’ve had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive.”
Jason Campbell, on the other hand, was a punching bag for the Aldon Smith and the 49ers pass rush. Campbell sacked 6 times and was picked off twice going 14/22 with 107 yards passing and 1 TD pass to Brandon Marshall late in the 3rd quarter. That turned out to be the only points scored for Chicago.
The Bears were stymied in the first half getting a total of 35 first half yards. Chicago actually had negative 1 passing yards entering halftime. The 49ers, meanwhile, had 249 first half yards.
The game started with the 49ers getting the ball and settling for a David Akers 32 yard FG. The 49ers then got the ball back after a 3 and out from the Bears and Kaepernick helped keep their drive alive with a 57 yard pass to Kyle Williams. That was followed with a 3 yard TD pass to Vernon Davis to put the Red and Gold up by 10.
“…The ball that he threw me it was just, uh, I mean it was one of those balls that you see Tom Brady throw,” David said of the TD pass he caught from Colin Kaepnernick. “You know, 2nd window, like right on the money, ‘bah’ surprise. I didn’t expect the ball to come because you know we ran that play quite a few times and the tight end usually don’t get the ball on that play but he saw it and he just put it there.”
Vernon Davis finished the day with 6 catches for 83 yards and that one TD catch.
The next 49ers drive was capped off with a 14 TD run by Kendall Hunter. Hunter managed to get 27 yards on 5 carries throughout the game. San Francisco would get 3 more points on their next drive after 49ers CB Tarell Brown picked off Jason Campbell. They would be up 20-0 entering the locker room.
The 2nd half started with a Bears 3 and out with the 49ers getting the ball. After a few plays that included a 37 yard reception by Mario Manningham, Colin Kaepernick connected with Michael Crabtree for a 10 yard TD pass on a 3rd and 6 and Kaepernick having to move a little bit to avoid the rush.
It was 27-7 entering the 4th quarter. There the 49ers would tack on three more points via another 32 yard Akers FG that came after another interception thrown by Campbell with 49ers safety Dashon Goldson getting the pick. The Bears then surrendered a safety after a split sack by Aldon Smith and Justin Smith forced a fumble by Campbell in the Bears end zone. Bears lineman Chilo Rachal then recovered the ball and was tackled in the end zone before he threw the ball illegally forward. Those were the last two points for either team in the game.
Aldon Smith was a big reason for Jason Campbell struggles all night. Smith had 5.5 sacks in the game (Monday Night Record) and hit the Bears QB 7 times (49ers hit Campbell 11 times). Smith now has 15 sacks this season, best in the NFL passing Von Miller of the Broncos with 13 sacks.
“We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass,” Smith said about the Niners defense. “I was just playing my game and getting after it.”
The 49ers held the Bears to 143 total yards in this game and forced two turnovers. They held the Bears ground game to 85 yards in 28 carries (3 yards a carry) and held the total passing yards of the Bears to only 58 yards when accounting for the sacks that Campbell took.
Meanwhile, the 49ers offensive line, who had struggled protecting the QB all year, surrendered only one sack. Colin Kaepernick himself managed to avoid a couple of hits in the backfield with his feet but the O-line looked much more together this week in pass protection.
The ground game of the 49ers also helped make sure there was productive balance. Frank Gore ran the ball 17 times for 78 yards while overall as a team the 49ers ran it 29 times for 123 yards and that one rushing TD by Kendall Hunter. The mix of formations and packages confused Brian Urlacher and that Bears defense making them seem lost at times.
As the 49ers look ahead to their next game at the Saints, they must now look back and decide if a change at quarterback is warranted. When asked who is the starting QB going forward, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t so sure.
“We’ll see,” Harbaugh replied. “We usually tend to go with the guy who’s got the hot hand and we got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand…”
About the Author
Written by Daniel Trucios