Wow. Just wow. I’ve heard of a Cleveland Steamer, but this game was a Chicago spewage-fest all of its own. The perfect shitstorm of penalties, turnovers, and shitty coaching. The 49ers, after stumbling and bumbling their way to a 17-0 first half lead that could have easily been 27 points, saw their lead get cut to 10 with the help of 3 penalties and a great catch by Brandon Marshall to close the 1st half.
I was a little uneasy about that late score until we took the 2nd half kickoff and marched down the field to the Bear 5 after controlling the ball for 10 minutes. The offense was clicking all the way. Kappy connected with VMcD, and Crabs, and Stevie Wonder had a nice 20 yard catch and run. We were poised to take a 17 point lead. So what does Harbaugh do? Completely pussy out. He turtled up and kicked the field goal, thinking his defense would save the day and he could turtle his way to victory. The problem? 24-7 is a 3 score lead. 20-7 isn’t. Things happen way too fast in the NFL to sit on a 13 point lead to open the 2nd half. And it bit Harbaugh squarely in the ass.
Chicago’s next drive was once again helped immensely on two drive-extending 3rd down penalties. So, what do we do? Throw. 1st play after Chicago’s TD is a pick. I do like opening things up, but really, Buffalo put 200 on this defense on the ground. We didn’t really try. So, Chicago scores 2 TDs and the Niners are down by 1. Score that TD to open the 2nd half, and the Niners are still up by 3. But yeah, you get that. So, still throwing, we get picked again. It takes Chicago all of 3 plays to score again. Down by 8. Time to go no-huddle and try to score quickly? Well, that ain’t in the play book. Harbaugh’s MO is to play for the one score to tie and leave no time on the clock.
Instead of possibly tieing the game, we suffer the same fate as the Super Bowl, and last year’s NFC Championship game. A closely contested pass to Michael Crabtree that falls incomplete. Crabs himself said he blew it by taking the route toward the end zone instead of staying on his crossing route. I believe him, but I also think Chicago got a huge boost by holding the Niners to a FG and thus keeping the score at 13 points.
As bad as the game was, with all the penalties and turnovers, I put this loss squarely on the coaches. Harbaugh and Fangio both went the conservative route, and let Chicago hang around. Chicago had no business getting back into this game, yet the coaches left Cutler unscathed, Fangio never dialed up the pressure, and he picked us apart. Even with Marshall and Jeffries hobbled. You had to know they’d start feeling better if they started making plays. Which they did.