No. 1: The defense is gaining momentum
While the Bears offense is not one of top ranked in the NFL, the 49ers still put out a good effort, providing the offense the opportunity to stay in the game. The defense played well across the board, apart from the occasional slip up here and there.
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Two such mistakes coming from rookie safety Marcell Harris. The first being a 43-yard completion to Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, ending on the 49ers 19-yard line. Harris was not back in coverage, resulting in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky throwing over the top of Harris for a big gain. A missed field goal attempt by the Bears helped to alleviate the mistake.
The second mistake came in the fourth quarter, when Harris came in late when attempting to tackle Trubisky. The quarterback slid, with Harris unable to pull up in time, he impacted awkwardly with Trubisky. A scuffle ensued with multiple Bears players surrounding Harris. Cornerback Richard Sherman was quick to back up Harris, with the veteran corner rushing in and throwing what appeared to be punches. As a result of the escalation, Sherman along with Bears’ wide receivers Anthony Miller and Josh Bellamy were ejected for the remainder of the game.
Other than those two incidents, Harris had another reasonable game, contributing in coverage and recording five tackles, the third highest among the 49ers defense. He also had what was initially thought to be a strip on Allen Robinson, however, on review the call was reversed.
Linebacker Elijah Lee has continued to show his ability since taking over from former 49er Reuben Foster. He led the 49ers in tackles with a total of 12 for the day. While defensive end Cassius Marsh managed two sacks on Trubisky and Buckner recorded another sack. This bring Buckner’s total to 11 sacks for the year, with seven sacks coming from his last six games.
The defense managed five quarterback hits and kept the Bears’ rush offense under 100 yards. Howard led the Bears in rushing with 53 yards from 13 carries. Trubisky would go on to complete 25 passes from 29 attempts for 246 yards. He had a completion rate of 86.2 percent and a passer rating of 113.5. He averaged 8.48 yards per pass with his longest throw coming in at 43 yards.
After such a long drought, the 49ers would also pick up their second takeaway for the game in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Tarvarius Moore stripped the ball from Robinson, with cornerback Greg Mabin recovering it.
While the 49ers did apply the pressure at times, Trubisky’s stats speak for themselves. We all know that improved edge rush will likely be coming in the draft, it’s just a matter of waiting.