49ers Offensive Grades
Facing the NFL’s top defense, Mullens had a respectable day that would have looked better statistically if not for an intercepted pass that was tipped into a defender’s arms by wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Mullens hung tough in the pocket during the game, but his lack of height proved to be a limiting factor, as a number of his pass attempts were deflected by the Bears’ defensive linemen. The first-year QB also managed the clock poorly by throwing multiple short passes over the middle with time expiring at the end of the first half. Unfortunately, Mullens’ day — and perhaps his entire rookie season — was overshadowed by the lack of awareness he demonstrated on the team’s final offensive play.
Running back Matt Breida totaled just 20 rushing yards and six receiving yards before another ankle injury ended his afternoon. Backup RB Wilson managed to get through the game without putting the ball on the ground, but logged just 29 rushing yards on 8 attempts before Shanahan chose to leave the “Rushing Plays” section of his playbook in the locker room at halftime. The 49ers essentially abandoned the run game during the second half, yet Wilson was met in the backfield on his three predictable rushing attempts, which dropped his average to 2.5 yards-per-carry for the day.
Wide Receiver / Tight End
The Bears’ defense focused on containing tight end George Kittle, and they were somewhat successful, although the Pro Bowler led the Niners with seven receptions for 74 yards. Unfortunately, wide receiver Dante Pettis was lost to injury early in the game, which appeared to seriously affect Shanahan’s offensive strategy. Bourne finished Week 16 as the 49ers’ top wide receiver, while Goodwin continued to be a shadow of the player he was prior to his extended leave of absence from the team.
The Niners’ offensive line had their hands full with Chicago’s elite defensive linemen, particularly in the run game, as San Francisco amassed just 47 yards on the ground at a 3.1 yard-per-carry clip. The right side of the 49ers’ line struggled mightily against the pass, which is understandable given the talent level of Chicago’s pass rushers. Sunday was right tackle Mike McGlinchey‘s worst game of his rookie season, but luckily, he won’t have to face the Bears’ edge rusher Khalil Mack again any time soon. Mullens was sacked just once on the day, but he was forced to either roll out or throw the ball from a collapsing pocket on the majority of his dropbacks.