The Bears came into San Francisco as NFC North champions, and did not exactly play their best football. They still managed to win the game, but they produced more questions than answers in the process.
These are my four takeaways from the Bears win over the 49ers.
They went a little over the top, but it was still a commendable act from Bellamy and Miller to pick fights with multiple 49ers (including Richard Sherman, who also got himself tossed) after a blatantly dirty hit on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
When things like that happen, you protect your quarterback. Deal with the consequences later, and show your leader that you will knock anybody who lays a finger on him into next week.
This is takeaway 1A, because there’s a lot to cover, but said quarterback played well. He made two horrible mistakes, one of which cost Chicago dearly, but he was efficient, made the right reads, and most importantly, he may have played his most accurate game of the season.
2. Khalil Mack dominated that game, even if he didn’t record a sack.
Mack didn’t have a monstrous game on the stat sheet like last week against Green Bay, but he still found a way to make his presence felt.
He was in Niners QB Nick Mullens‘ face all day long, even recording three quarterback hits on three consecutive plays in the third quarter. One of those hits caused the ball to pop up into the air. It feel harmlessly to the ground, but had a Bear been in the area it could have easily been intercepted.
You also may have noticed that Mullens was making a conscious effort to get rid of the football as soon as possible. He had a mental clock on steroids, and I can think of 52 reasons why that was the case.
3. The Bears need more out of their downfield passing game if they’re going to make noise in January.
I don’t blame this on Trubisky, who hit every seven-yard hook that was available. Whether it’s Nagy not trusting his young signal caller or the receivers just aren’t getting open, this is something that needs to be fixed if the Bears are going to be a threat in three or four weeks. Only two completions where the ball traveled seven air yards isn’t going to cut it in New Orleans or Los Angeles.
I’d have to put on the tape to be sure, but my guess is that they’re not running enough plays with Tarik Cohen as the primary receiver. They need to be making a conscious effort to get him the ball, for two reasons. One, he’s very good and it’s been shown repeatedly that the Bears offense is at its best when he’s a featured member of it. Two, the attention that he should draw as one of the NFL’s most elusive route runners isn’t there.
If the Bears force defenses to keep an eye on him on every play, more will be open 15, 20 yards down the field. That hasn’t happened, and that’s Matt Nagy’s fault.
4. Cody Parkey is a liability, and one that could come back to haunt the Bears.
This one is simple. Parkey needs to make his kicks. Perhaps this bad miss will set off a hot streak like the nightmare against Detroit did, but he needs to make those and a whole lot more if the Bears want to make a run.
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