MORRISSEY: Bears facing lots of questions after Frisco Demolition Night
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org November 19, 2012 11:30PM
Bears running back Matt Forte is brought down by 49ers defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga (90), linebacker Patrick Willis (52) and defensive tackle Justin Smith during the second half Monday. | Tony Avelar~AP
Updated: January 19, 2013 2:07AM
SAN FRANCISCO — The Bears got Kaepernicked.
Of all the possibilities heading into the game Monday night, that would have been near the bottom of the heap. Crabtreed? Sure. Gored? Absolutely. But done in by Colin Kaepernick, the sworn enemy of spell check? No.
That big, bad Bears defense, the one known for a ferocious pass rush and an addiction to forcing turnovers, got positively shredded by a guy who walked onto the field with 31 passes in a nine-game NFL ‘‘career.’’
If the Bears were to agree never to appear again on ‘‘Monday Night Football’’ after this 32-7 debacle, that would be OK with just about everyone on the planet.
Kaepernick was a 49th-round pick of the Cubs in 2009, which might explain some of what happened. The Curse of Kaepernick? Hmmm.
Or maybe it’s the Curse of Lovie Smith.
‘‘[Kaepernick is] a young and talented quarterback, but there’s something to be said for experience,’’ Smith said on the Bears’ pregame radio show. ‘‘He hasn’t played on the national stage. Even though he’s played some ball for them, it’s different playing on Monday night and you’re the guy.’’
Kaepernick finished with a 133.1 rating on 16-for-23 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
Um, Lovie? Kaepernick? That national stage?
‘‘Normally, it doesn’t work like that,’’ he said.
Jason Campbell entered the game with 70 career starts and looked hopelessly lost under the 49ers’ constant pressure. The likelihood of big plays — plural — out of the Bears’ offense was about the same as a Kardashian scouting convents. He was 14-for-22 for 107 yards, was picked off twice, was sacked six times and finished with a 52.7 rating.
‘‘[Monday] was probably the worst nightmare,’’ Campbell said.
The Bears have an awful history at Candlestick Park, but this was about as bad as it gets: an embarrassment in a purported matchup between teams with Super Bowl aspirations. The Bears have gone from 7-1 to 7-3 in the blink of an eye for a reason.
Go ahead and say you can’t put too much emphasis on a game that doesn’t feature Jay Cutler. The 49ers won the Concussion Bowl, but that’s not fair to them. They would have won this game even if Cutler hadn’t been sidelined with a concussion. The offensive line reverted back to being a red carpet to the quarterback. Give Campbell credit for getting back up time after time. If there was any advice that could have been proffered, it would have been, ‘‘Stay down, Rocky!’’
And if all this wasn’t bad enough, the game plan looked as though it had been written in pigment on a cave wall.
The 49ers exposed a flawed football team, one that has lived off fumble recoveries and interceptions. But there was something else at work: a back-on-its heels team that didn’t look like it thought it belonged.
Everything that could have gone wrong for the Bears went wrong from the start. Kaepernick came out throwing the kind of guided missiles that make grown offensive coordinators weep for joy. He threw a beautiful pass to Vernon Davis for a 22-yard completion on the 49ers’ opening drive. Bears safety Major Wright was the victim, as he would be over and over during the game.
On a third-and-seven on the next drive, Kaepernick hit Kyle Williams for a 57-yard gain. At halftime, he was 12-for-15 for 184 yards and a touchdown. His rating was a Joe Montana-like 140.0.
‘‘I’m not surprised because on film he showed that he’s capable of doing the things that he did,’’ Wright said.
The 49ers have a quarterback controversy on their hands. It’s hard to see how Alex Smith could have done any better than Kaepernick did. He certainly doesn’t have Kaepernick’s arm.
‘‘We’ll see,’’ 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. ‘‘I usually tend to go with the guy who’s got the hot hand. And we’ve got two quarterbacks that have a hot hand.’’
The score was 20-0 at halftime. It could have been worse. The Bears had 35 yards of total offense, compared with the 49ers’ 249. On defense, there was no pass rush to speak of, and Bears defenders couldn’t keep up with Davis or Williams.
Making matters worse, they couldn’t stop Gore or Kendall Hunter, either.
‘‘There’s no magic remedy or potion,’’ Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said. ‘‘We just didn’t play good.’’
What was as clear as day was the difference in offensive lines. While the Bears couldn’t get a rush on Kaepernick, the 49ers ran wild in the Bears’ backfield, with Aldon Smith getting 51⁄2 sacks. It was another harsh reminder the Bears are going nowhere with this offensive line, even with a healthy Cutler.
‘‘San Francisco is a team we’ll probably see again,’’ Campbell said, referring to the playoffs.
Now that’s a truly frightening thought.