49ers report card: Grades for offense, defense in Week 1 loss to Bears

CHICAGO — Soldier Field’s natural grass has been widely known for years as a poor surface in inclement weather.

However, when the weather turned bad on Sunday, the newly deployed Bermuda grass held up much better than the 49ers in the regular season opener.

The 49ers were swept away by a 19-10 loss to the Bears in a game that featured costly penalties, turnovers and just plain negligence.

Defensive end Nick Bosa described the team’s inability to pull off a win as “boring”. There are plenty of other ways to sum it up.

And here are the notes that capture their rough performance from week 1:

Hasty offense

The 49ers thought they were leaning heavily on their running game, and they did. San Francisco beat the Bears on the ground in the first half with 115 yards and an average of 6.4 yards. Elijah Mitchell went out in the first half with a knee injury.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel scored the first touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run.

But he also made the first costly mistake of the game when he fumbled on a second-quarter run play when the 49ers moved the ball to Chicago’s 12-yard line.

The 49ers found yards much harder to come by in the second half, but still finished with 176 rushing yards and a 4.8 average.

Quarterback Trey Lance was the 49ers’ leading rusher with 54 yards, while Samuel gained 52 yards.

To note: B-minus

Exceeding offense

Lance, making his first start after officially taking over from Jimmy Garoppolo, had an up and down game. He opened his press conference with a list of mistakes he made, including a knockdown of tight end Tyler Kroft on what should have been an early touchdown.

When the 49ers were playing from behind in the fourth quarter, Lance didn’t see Bears safety Eddie Jackson. That interception gave the Bears a short field that was used to tack on a touchdown for a nine-point lead.

The elements played a part in that play. Lance completed 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards. But Lance took full responsibility.

Jauan Jennings was the team’s leading receiver with four catches for 64 yards. Brandon Aiyuk caught two passes for 40 yards, and Lance only hooked Samuel twice (on eight attempts) for 14 yards.

To note: D-minus

hasty defense

The 49ers’ run defense was solid from start to finish. Chicago running back David Montgomery struggled to find a place to run. He was limited to just 26 yards on 17 rushing attempts.

The Bears gained 99 yards on 37 rushing attempts. Khalil Herbert averaged 5.0 yards per attempt and gave Chicago a nine-point lead with a 3-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

The 49ers had six tackles for the loss, including two from strong safety Talanoa Hufanga. He had a team-high 11 tackles, and linebacker Fred Warner added six tackles.

But the 49ers also made mistakes on their run defense. Dr. Greenlaw was called for two penalties: unnecessary roughness and a face mask. Both calls were questionable.

But there was no mistaking an error from Azeez Al-Shair, who delivered a late hit on a sliding Justin Fields for 15 yards.

To note: B+

defensive pass

The 49ers allowed just 19 net passing yards in the first half. This included sacks from Samson Ebukam and Nick Bosa, as well as interception from Hufanga.

But one play completely changed the momentum of this game.

The 49ers had a seemingly comfortable 10-0 lead in the third quarter when Fields dodged Arik Armstead’s rush, moved left, then pushed back across the field to discover Dante Pettis on the right side. The 49ers secondary didn’t do a great job chasing Pettis, who turned it into a 51-yard touchdown.

That play wiped out a lot of the good things the 49ers did in that game. That gave the Bears momentum.

Fields finished the game with just eight completions on 17 attempts for 121 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

To note: B-minus

Special teams

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had a solid game averaging 40.3 yards and three kicks inside the 20-yard line on his four attempts. Tarvarius Moore made a good play when he ran onto punt coverage and dropped Pettis for a 3-min return.

Robbie Gould handled kickoff duties, as the Bears opened those drives on their own 23-, 25-, and 28-yard lines. Gould also had a 25-yard field goal and an extra point.

To note:B

framing

If we blame penalties and miscellaneous errors on coaching, then that’s a failing grade. And, certainly, coaching needs to take its share of the blame for the product the 49ers have put on the field.

There was immediate questioning of Coach Kyle Shanahan’s decision to deny a pass that was only a 4-yard gain on the first and 10. However, the play from distance may have contributed to Fields’ interception on third down.

The 49ers conceded no points.

Things just looked sloppy all around, so there’s a lot to clean up as the 49ers get back to work for their Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

To note😀

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Globally

Obviously, this was a game the 49ers should have won. But they let too many scoring opportunities slip away. The next thing everyone knew, the Bears stayed there – just a big play away from a dramatic change in momentum.

It’s far too early to get excited about this kind of performance. But it was also a horrible way for a Super Bowl-aspiring team to open the season.

You may have noticed that we haven’t assigned a fail rating to any specific team unit. But the overall rating is a big miss.

To note:F

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