The Chicago Bears are celebrating today, but do they have anything to be happy about? In a way the Bears do, and in other ways the Bears do not. It seems that the Bears cost themselves in the long-term with their 26-6 romp of the San Francisco 49ers. It was a victory that could have some real ramifications once the NFL season comes to a close.
Winning is always good in the NFL, but no team could have cost themselves more by winning than the Chicago Bears. The Bears were entrenched as one of the bottom four teams going into their game versus the San Francisco 49ers. By defeating the 49ers, the Bears virtually eliminated their chances of getting one of the top two picks in the next NFL draft.
Armed with the possibility of nabbing one of the top talents in the draft, a loss would have put the Chicago Bears in a good position. Instead, the victory not only put the Bears ahead of the San Francisco 49ers, but also the Jacksonville Jaguars. If the NFL season were to end tomorrow, the Bears would have either the No. 4 or No. 5 pick in the draft.
Selecting in the top-five still remains a good thing for a team that has had the season the Bears have dealt with. There is somewhat of a talent drop-off from two to five. If it becomes the Bears’ plan to trade down for more draft picks, a bevy of teams would be more inclined to acquire the No. 2 or No. 3 choice over No. 4 and No.5. It is possible that the Bears were able to take control in the game against a now 1-11 49ers team that has the same incentive to lose.
The game between two of the NFL’s worst began in infamy. That is because the Bears and 49ers broke a record for the fewest completed passes (courtesy of ESPN) in the first quarter. Neither the Bears or 49ers connected on a throw in the first quarter. Futility carried over into the second quarter until the first pass was completed by 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His pass to tight end Vance McDonald ended the dry spell near the middle of the second quarter.
That was about all of the celebrating the 49ers could do. The Bears’ defense held Kaepernick to the single pass play. Kaepernick was eventually lifted in the fourth quarter (courtesy of ESPN) for Blaine Gabbert, who only fared slightly better throwing for 35 yards. Gabbert completed just four of the 10 passes he threw. It was a dominating performance by the Chicago Bears’ defense, which should give fans something to be excited about.
The Bears’ defense sacked Colin Kaepernick five times, got to Gabbert once, and held the 49ers to a pitiful 147 yards on offense.
An opportunity at a more favorable draft selection was likely at stake for the Chicago Bears. And chances are good that the Bears will add at least one more victory to their record. What does that all mean for the Bears? It depends on what a person roots for.
Bright spots were found all throughout the Chicago Bears’ win over the San Francisco 49ers. Developing players is all the Bears can do at this point. The good news is that some results are coming in.
It looks like the Bears have a running back who could propel himself into elite status someday. Jordan Howard ran the football hard, punishing the 49ers’ defenders at every step. Howard is playing with more confidence as the season wears on.
Barring an injury, he will reach the 1,000 rushing total within the next two games. What is next for Howard is becoming a better pass-catcher out of the backfield. If he can improve as a receiver, Jordan Howard could join the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson.
A lot of the Bears’ youth is on defense. And to hold the 49ers to only six points is remarkable. While some people will quickly point out that the 49ers are not filled with any all-pro players, the Bears were missing both several players who began the season as starters. They had four rookies playing together on defense during a huge chunk of their defensive snaps.
That included Nick Kwiatkowski, who called the plays for the defense. He would finish the game with nine tackles, all solo, and two pass deflections. It was good to see how Kwiatkowski progressed throughout the game. It will be interesting to see how he plays for the rest of the year.
That can be said for a lot of the Chicago Bears. Even quarterback Matt Barkley had his moments during the Bears’ win. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery returns in two weeks. If Barkley can mesh well with Jeffery, the Bears may have a temporary replacement in place should they decide to move forward without Jay Cutler.
Everything about the Chicago Bears’ victory felt good, although some parts of it may feel hollow. This could have been a statement game without a win. Instead, the Chicago Bears lose precious draft positioning by doing so.
Did the Chicago Bears hurt themselves by defeating the San Francisco 49ers?
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]