Bears report card
Passing offense – D. Jay Cutler passed for 307 yards, but would have had a higher passer rating if every pass was incomplete (39.6) than his five-interception effort (33.6). Two were especially costly. The first was an interception from the 1 that gave the Bears zero points off an 88-yard first-half drive. The second was Cutler’s only interception that didn’t come on third down or on the game’s final play; one play after a 37-yard pass to Matt Forte, he threw an interception that was returned 51 yards. The 49ers’ Frank Gore scored on a 14-yard run on the next play for the game’s only touchdown.
Rushing offense – D-. The Bears ran for three first downs on third-and-1 on an 88-yard drive in the first half, two by Matt Forte and one on a sneak, but back-to-back 1-yard runs also helped end that drive after a first down at the 3. Cutler was intercepted on third down. Three of Cutler’s four interceptions came on third down after Forte (20-for-41) had a combined 3 yards on five rushes.
Passing defense – A. The Bears got help from Alex Smith, one of the NFL’s least-accomplished quarterbacks, but they held him to 118 yards passing. Tommie Harris got his first sack of the season and Marcus Harrison also had a sack, giving Chicago as many sacks as it had in its previous four games combined. Zack Bowman had an interception and safety Josh Bullocks and cornerback Corey Graham played well in rare appearances as injury replacements.
Rushing defense – B. Frank Gore had 104 yards on 25 carries, but 110 yards on 28 carries (3.9 average) is a huge improvement from the last three games, especially with a key fourth-and-1 stop.
Special teams – C. Brad Maynard averaged 44 yards on four punts, including one downed at the 6. Robbie Gould made both his field goals, including a rare 50-yarder on the final play of the first half. But the Bears averaged only 14 yards on three kickoff returns and 2 yards on two punt returns on a night when they desperately needed a kick-start from their once-fearsome return game.
Coaching – F. Matt Forte had one 16-yard run. His other 19 carries gained 25 yards. Why is he getting 20 carries? This is the third time this season Chicago has failed to score a point after having a first down inside the 3, plus one in a critical loss at Minnesota late last year, and all four stops featured at least two Forte runs. Chicago’s offense never changes even when it doesn’t work. Ten penalties for 75 yards also were costly.
Overall – F. Losing to a team that had lost four games in a row and wasting one of Chicago’s best defensive efforts of the year virtually ended the Bears’ playoff hopes.