1. Brandon Marshall is a beast
Five receptions for 48 yards and three TDs. And those touchdowns were legit,
- The first was a sick one handed grab with less than 15 seconds to go in the first half.
- The second was a classic "box out", he ran to the goal line, turned around and just used his buddy to keep the defender from making a play.
- The third was a fade to the corner where he held onto the ball with a defender draped all over him.
All of that with a bum ankle.
2. Kyle Fuller may be the real deal
The rookie out of Virginia Tech came up with two HUGE interceptions in the second half. He was drafted with the expectation of being the third corner into the game and being given the chance to ease into the league, but his current play combined with Peanut Tillman's injury, has led to his development being one of the big factors to the Bears' defensive success.
3. Willie Young is the best defensive lineman on the team
Four tackles and two BIG TIME sacks in the fourth quarter for the guy who was NOT one of the two big name defensive ends the Bears signed. The odd man out, he constantly got after Kaepernick and made some plays in the backfield. He also made sure to keep his containment on the read option plays, which were a huge issue for the defense last year.
4. Martellus Bennett is the best tight end in the NFC North (and arguably a top five tight end in the league - Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Gronk and ____?)
Through two games, Bennett has 15 receptions for 107 yards two TDs and eight first downs.
The rest of the NFC North -
- Packers' Andrew Quarless - 4 rec. 34 yds. zero TDs and 2 first downs
- Lions combo Eric Ebron/Joseph Fauria - 5 rec. 84 yds. zero TDs and 5 first downs
- Vikings' Kyle Rudolph - 7 rec. 69 yds. 1 TD and 4 first downs
5. The Bears offensive line is DEEP
In the opening week, the Bears lost their two most veteran lineman in Center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson. Their roles were filled by a former Saint in Brian de la Puente and a rookie from the CFL in Michael Ola.
And against a ferocious Niners' defense, the Bears line allowed one single sack to All Pro Justin Smith.
6. Chris Conte is owed some apologies
Free Safety Chris Conte has had a rough stretch, especially in the last two regular season games. Despite an interception against the Bills last week, many ripped Conte for not being able to tackle Fred Jackson during an overtime run that set the Bills up for a winning field goal.
And in the final game of last season, he missed an audible call on fourth down in the final minutes against the hated Packers with the playoffs on the line that resulted in the go-ahead touchdown for Green Bay.
Bear fans called for Conte (and former strong safety Major Wright) to be run out of town. Luckily, the Bears brain trust opted to keep Conte and Conte showed why he deserves to be the starter with an incredibly athletic interception of Kaepernick in the second quarter. He provided solid over the top coverage and has shown that he should be starting over both back up options in Danny McCray and rookie Brock Vereen.
7. The special teams still need work
Robbie Gould did very well.
The rest, meh. A blocked punt in the first quarter. A punt where the Bears were called for THREE separate penalties and a 19 yard punt return given up. ST coordinator Joe DeCamillis has his work cut out for him.
8. Jay Cutler is a gamer
Despite being sacked only once, Cutler still took some hits from a very strong 49ers front seven. But he soldiered on. He tucked and ran for 26 yards on one play.
During the first half, the timing looked off with his receivers, but second half he made adjustments and let his receivers go up and make plays.
A gusty performance against a quality opponent on the road. Sunday night, Jay showed just how good he can be.
9. Alshon Jeffery is hurt
Jeffery still had three catches for 47 yards but just watching him run, you could tell he did not have that top gear. On several plays in which Jay overthrew Alshon, it was clear that if he was running at his normal full speed, they would have connected.
It will be interesting to see how the Bears and Jeffery go through this next week of practice.
The 49ers had 16 penalties for 118 yards and the Bears had 10 penalties for 58 yards... And those were just the accepted penalties. There were at least another 7-10 flags that were declined between the two teams.
Some of that is lack of discipline and some is the refs were just a little trigger happy.
Regardless, the Bears need to improve if they want to build off of this impressive victory.