Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers
SAN FRANCISCO — Call it the beat down by the Bay.
The San Francisco 49ers were the proud and mighty victors in a 32-7 thumping of one of the best defenses in the league.
“Plain and simple, we got our butts kicked,” Bears defensive end Corey Wootton said. “It’s one of those ones where you have to admit they gave it to us.”
In the week leading up to “Monday Night Football,” the Bears often said that their approach wouldn’t change if the 49ers started Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.
The plan was to stop their top-ranked run game first, then the pass.
Instead, it was Kaepernick first, second and all night as he carved the Bears’ defense with his arm. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and an astounding 133.1 quarterback rating.
Kaepernick did most of his damage in the first half, catching the Bears unprepared. They weren’t surprised that he played in place of Smith (concussion), but that he threw as much as he did, especially early.
“We kind of thought they were going to run the rock a lot,” Wootton said. “When they started doing a lot of play action. That kind of caught us off guard a little bit. But at the end of day, we have to read our keys and play the style of football that we have been playing.”
The Bears used more man-to-man coverages in an effort to stop the run, but that left tight end Vernon Davis (six catches, 83 yards, touchdown) and others to exploit them.
“You have to take your hat off to the quarterback,” cornerback Tim Jennings said. “He came in and did tremendous. He was comfortable, and we were kind of surprised.”
Kaepernick made accurate, strong throws all over the field. Few of his attempts were risky as the 49ers seemingly dictated matchups and he had seemingly all day to throw. In the end, it was a 25-year-old making his first career start who looked like the seasoned veteran in the battle of the backups.
The 49ers picked up yardage in huge chunks behind Kaepernick, who made completions of 57, 37, 32, 26, 22 and 20 yards. They also ran the ball well. Frank Gore and Co. totaled 123 yards.
“They ended up catching us on our toes,” safety Major Wright said.
The damage done to the Bears in the first half was enough for the victory. Kaepernick (184 passing yards in the first half) had a three-yard touchdown pass to Davis, backup running back Kendall Hunter had a 14-yard touchdown run and David Akers made 32- and 37-yard field goals for a 20-0 lead.
It got uglier in the second half. Kaepernick found a wide-open Michael Crabtree for his second touchdown pass of the game early in the third quarter.
Wootton had a sack and defensive tackle Stephen Paea had a tackle for loss, but the highlights were few for the Bears’ ball-hawking defense. Its performance was short of the precedent it has set this season.
“It was embarrassing,” Jennings said. “The beat us the whole game. The only way to look at it is as embarrassing.”