Santa Clara, CA – Almost two years ago Colin Kaepernick had a breakout start Monday night against the Chicago Bears. The 49ers dominated the Bears in the victory while Jay Cutler sat out with a concussion along with starting quarterback Alex Smith.
Kaepernick has been the starting quarterback since that night. But in this seasons home opener he unraveled and was hit with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for using inappropriate language. The Bears simply got the best of San Francisco after rallying back for the 28-20 win.
“We just kept plugging, we knew we had some good stuff,” Cutler said. “We just had to figure them out.”
The 49ers took control early in the game, the defense smothered Chicago on their opening drive. Forced to punt, the Bears were shocked when rookie Aaron Lynch blocked Patrick O’Donnell’s punt. That put San Francisco on their own 8-yard line. Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree with a shotgun pass for the 3- yard touchdown.
Frank Gore rushed for an 8-yard touchdown in the second that made up for the one that was called back due to a penalty. Gore had his 54-yard touchdown negated after Anquan Boldin was called for a holding penalty. A total of 26 penalties were called in the game. 16 on the 49ers and 10 on the Bears.
“I just think that’s something the NFL is going to have to correct,” LB Ahmad Brooks said. “They called about 16 or 17 penalties on us today and I think they called 11 on them. Thats way too many penalties for a football game.”
“I didn’t say anything,” Kaepernick said when asked if he used a slur of any kind.
Rookie Kyle Fuller made two late crucial interceptions with the secondary team. The first set up a first and goal on the 3, and Cutler threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett. Following the pick, Kaepernick was called for the penalty. Chicago extended their lead 21-20 in the fourth.
“I’m not going to say I felt good about the game or what I did but as far as my decisions, I mean I saw the coverage’s,” Kaepernick explained. “I went where I wanted to with the ball. We just didn’t make the plays. I didn’t make the throws.”
By halftime San Francisco led 17-7. Phil Dawson kicked a 24-yard field goal to extend their lead to 20-7. But the Bears turned things around quickly in the fourth. Cutler connected with Brandon Marshall for a 5-yard touchdown and again for a 3-yard touchdown. The 49ers defense collapsed as Chicago erased a 13-point deficit.
“I don’t have one particular word to say,” said LB Patrick Willis. “But, anytime you have an opportunity to be up on a team like that, you have to capitalize, you have to put even more pressure on them and we didn’t do that. We didn’t play a complete football game as a defense and that’s on us.”
Kaepernick finished with four turnovers and a fumble. He completed 21 of 34 attempts despite getting a hard hit to his pride. Kaepernick called his performance “terrible” after throwing for 248 yards on a touchdown and three interceptions two by Fuller.
“I think he was seeing things good,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He threw some pretty darn good balls that got intercepted. Tip of the cap to the defense.”