The San Francisco 49ers fell to the playoff-bound Chicago Bears 14-9 in the Niners’ final home game of the 2018 NFL regular season. Niner Noise has your full position grades and analysis from the 49ers’ loss in Week 16.
The San Francisco 49ers’ Week 16 loss to the Chicago Bears felt more like a final preseason game than a late-season battle between a franchise on the rise and a team with Super Bowl aspirations — and for good reason.
On Sunday, the 49ers fielded a team full of players who saw extensive action in the Niners’ fourth game of the 2018 preseason. A team’s final preseason game is usually a mostly meaningless contest between roster longshots — and a game that may soon cease to exist due to complaints from fans, and efforts by the NFL itself.
Ironically, if head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Nick Mullens simply treated Sunday’s matchup like their fourth preseason game, the 49ers would have been victorious over the Bears in Week 16.
With Mullens under center, running back Jeff Wilson in the backfield and wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Richie James lined up on the outside, San Francisco’s offense created plenty of opportunities to put points on the scoreboard against the NFL’s top defensive unit.
But instead of aggressively attacking the opposing defense and keeping his offense on the field on fourth down — which resulted in three preseason Week 4 touchdowns — Shanahan was content with playing the field position game and settling for three short field goals on Sunday.
Despite failing to finish drives on offense, the 49ers remained in the game thanks to a defensive unit eerily similar to the group of players who finished out the preseason for San Francisco. Even with defensive linemen D.J. Jones, Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas and Jullian Taylor up front, linebacker Elijah Lee in the middle and defensive backs Antone Exum and Tarvarius Moore in the secondary, the Bears were held to just two scores on the day.
And as for Mullens’ ill-advised and poorly-thrown pass which brought an end to Sunday’s matchup, “Preseason Mullens” was quite capable of rushing for a 4-yard gain:
For a summary of yesterday’s contest, check out Niner Noise’s 49ers Week 16 game recap, which includes highlights, scores and analysis from San Francisco’s 14-9 loss to the Bears.
Each week, Niner Noise breaks down and grades the performance of each of the 49ers’ position groups. Let’s start with the San Francisco 49ers’ offense: