ReFo: Bears @ 49ers, Week 2
A rookie gets the game ball after putting in a big-play night when the Bears spoiled San Francisco's home opener.
ReFo: Bears @ 49ers, Week 2
Coming off a disappointing home defeat to the Buffalo Bills and down 17-0 to the 49ers just before halftime, a bleak 0-2 start was within reach for the Chicago Bears. But then came two pivotal drives either side of the break which started to swing the game their way. First capitalizing on some ill-discipline from San Francisco they reduced the deficit to 10 points before halting the 49ers within reach of a touchdown to maintain a two-score game on the opening drive of the second half.
The 49ers will wonder how they let a victory in their first home game at Levi’s Stadium slip from their grasp. Poorly timed mistakes on both sides of the ball turned what looked like it was going to be a comfortable victory into an agonizing defeat.
Chicago Bears – Performances of Note
Brandon Marshall, WR: +1.9
Breakdown: Only five receptions for Marshall last night but he made the most of his matchup with Jimmie Ward in the slot to snag three touchdowns on his four targets against the 49ers’ first-round pick. All three of Marshall’s scores came from the slot into Ward’s coverage as he proved simply too tough an assignment for the young defensive back down in the red zone.
Signature Play: Everybody loves a one-handed touchdown grab and Marshall came up with one to get the Bears back into the game just before the half (Q2, 00:18) getting free from Ward and elevating to bring the ball in with his right hand.
Willie Young, DE: +0.6
Breakdown: Until the 49ers’ final drive this had been a relatively quiet night for Young with a neutral zone infraction one of his few contributions to the game. That changed with a sack on the opening play of that last drive which he repeated, driving to the outside of Jonathan Martin this time, a few plays later to knock the 49ers back toward midfield with three minutes remaining.
Signature Play: Young’s first sack at 6:55 in the fourth came with a drive to the inside of Martin. A tight end and fullback put traffic in Young’s path for an outside rush and he was all too easily able to open the shorter route to Kaepernick for the sack.
Kyle Fuller, CB: +2.4
Breakdown: Filling in for the injured Charles Tillman, the Bears’ first-round pick took on not only his snaps but also his playmaking role in the defense. Fuller snagged a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter to aid the comeback, displaying a Tillman-esque knack of both finding and fighting for the ball.
Signature Play: If his second interception was about coverage smarts, then Fuller’s first interception (Q4, 13:29) was about grit and determination, not allowing Michael Crabtree to rescue Colin Kaepernick’s wayward throw, Fuller knocked the ball loose and snagged it for the turnover.
San Francisco 49ers – Performances of Note
Patrick Willis, ILB: +3.0
Breakdown: Matching up in coverage with Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte for most of the night, Willis surrendered only 16 yards on five targets with three of his four defensive stops coming in coverage. His work in run defense was limited by the Bears’ sparse use of the ground game but in coverage he was as stout as ever closing on short passes.
Signature Stat: His positive grade last night extends his streak to eight straight games with a positive overall grade dating back to Week 15 last season in Tampa Bay.
Colin Kaepernick, QB: -0.9
Breakdown: A strong start for Kaepernick was ruined as the wheels fell of his performance and the team’s around him. Starting in sync and helping the 49ers drive into a 17-0 lead, Kaepernick’s three interceptions that followed all featured either poor decision making or ball placement against the coverage he was throwing into or both.
Signature Stat: When the Bears were disciplined and held off the blitz, Kaepernick went 16/26 for 202 yards and all three of his interceptions, registering a 46.2 passer rating.
Perrish Cox, CB: +0.8
Breakdown: A game of what might have been for Cox last night who was involved in three plays that might have been interceptions for the 49ers. Twice he let overthrown deep balls by Jay Cutler slip through his grasp and then with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter he converged on an ill-advised Cutler pass as Antoine Bethea ensuring neither defender came up with the ball.
Signature Stat: Cox topped 60 snaps for the second week in a row having done so only once last season, in the 49ers’ wildcard victory over the Packers.
PFF Game Ball
Every team loves to see impact plays from their first-round pick and Kyle Fuller fit in just fine taking on snaps from the injured Charles Tillman to ballhawk a pair of interceptions that were pivotal in the Bears’ comeback.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben
Ben Stockwell | Director of Analysis
Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.