Jamie Winborn and the linebacking crew spent considerable time in the 3-4 defense, and was quite successful in getting pressure on the quarterback and stifling the run. More so that I have seen this year. This was a good sign when coupled by a solid effort from the defensive line, where Brandon Moore saw considerable time at defensive end, and where Brandon Whiting was once again injured.
The solid effort by the defensive front 7 allowed safeties Ronnie Heard and Dwaine Carpenter (who got injured later in the game) to have solid outings. Shawntae Spencer had a decent game, and Jimmy Williams wasn’t as awful as I was expecting. Joselio Hanson made a few plays too – and quite frankly I think this kid is worth keeping around.
In short the defense deserves credit for the performance it put up especially considering the number of starting players that were out of the line up. Then again… they were also playing against an horrible Bears team lead by a rookie quarterback.
As proud as I am by the defensive effort, I am disgusted by the offensive effort… or rather, the lack of offensive effort. Ken Dorsey may as well have been playing behind a line of elementary school football players. He was rattled, rolled, banged, bruised and whatever other adjective you want to throw his way. The result? A pitiful effort that had Dorsey throw balls at his receivers feet, and not even looking in the direction of wide open receivers like Eric Johnson (who had just once catch). Dorsey looked bad out there. He looked like the 49ers should give up on him. But how can I fairly evaluate Dorsey when he simply did not have time to throw?
If you haven’t caught on yet, the offensive line sucked. The pass blocking, the run blocking, simply was awful. Even Fred Beasley (who seems to have a belly for the first time, from what I saw) was not making his blocks. It remains hard to fault Kevan Barlow who also had a dismal day for the same reasons that it is hard to fault Dorsey. With no offensive line in front of him, with his fullback missing lead blocks, it is very hard to blame him for a poor rushing outing.
The receivers had decent days considering the passes having been aimed at their ankles. Brandon Lloyd emerged as a target, but Dorsey had the tendency of staring him down, and as such was picked off once, and almost twice if not for a great play by Lloyd to break up the interceptions. Arnaz Battle needs to see the field more. I continue to wonder why our quarterbacks do not get the ball to the receivers in a position that will allow them to make a play. Instead they throw the ball to them where they will get hammered, have to make a diving catch or simply have no room to run.
Special teams had a decent night. The punt and kick coverage units continue to do quite well, and the return units were adequate. Todd Peterson has a great day, finally getting the chance to kick long field goals, and hitting 2 out of 3 of them. Punter Andy Lee did not have a wonderful day, but I would still take him over Bill LaFleur.
The coaching staff…oh the coaching staff… Dennis Erickson finally put on a pair of glasses. Now that he can see the field perhaps he will be able to identify just how bad this team is. Penalties were down, but when the team was penalized it was in bad situations, like 3rd and 15 giving the Bears a first down. I will give credit to Erickson for finally giving Peterson the chance to kick a long field goal. The combination of good defensive play, and good decision making likely played a role in this. I will also give Erickson credit for calling the pitch to Barlow on 4th and 1 late in the game. I was actually sitting their hoping for that call. I have noticed our running backs due a far better job when given the ball outside on a pitch compared to going up through the line. I did think the dropped quick pass to Fred Beasley outside was an awful call. The defensive coaching is certainly the bright point of the coaching staff. I remain unimpressed with the coaching staff, but I have seen some improvement in this game in the types of calls the coaching staff made. Still I remain very concerned about the coaching staff and the way they prepare this team (see three and out on the first possession, something that would have been unheard of in years past with the 49ers).