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Five Things We Learned: Bears-49ers

11/20/2012
John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO -- Here are Five Things We Learned following Chicago Bears' 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night:

1. Bears could be in trouble: Their record still stands at 7-3, but Monday night's foundation-shaking loss raises serious questions about the Bears' ability to recover in time to face the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Soldier Field. The Vikings game is huge for the Bears, but will they be able to shake off this awful loss to the 49ers, handle the short week and deal with all the normal distractions that come during a holiday week? The schedule doesn't get much easier with three division games over the next four weeks, so it's time for the Bears to put their cards on the table. Are they a good team that simply got to seven wins by beating up on weak opponents or are they in fact an average team that feasted on inferior competition? We'll know soon enough.

2. Jared Allen won't be able to sleep this week: Aldon Smith had a season against the Bears in one night. To allow one defender to record 5.5 sacks in a single game is disgraceful. The Bears had no answer for the line stunts the 49ers were using to rush the passer, and at certain points, it got downright embarrassing with left tackle J'Marcus Webb getting knocked on his back repeatedly. To be fair, the Bears didn't give Webb or Gabe Carimi much help all night, but the Niners were only rushing four guys. Shouldn't five be able to block four? Allen crushed Webb last year in the Metrodome, so you know he'll be amped up to attack Jay Cutler, who should return from his concussion to face the Vikings. For all the progress the line made last week against the Texans, they gave it all back on Monday night.

3. The Bears could not stick with Vernon Davis: It had been a good year for Major Wright until Monday night. The Bears caught a break last week when Houston tight end Owen Daniels missed the game due to injury, but they weren't so lucky with Davis. Wright got burned repeatedly by the Niners' star tight end, who caught six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. He also missed several tackles and looked an awful lot like the inconsistent player we saw in his first two years in Chicago. Fellow safety Chris Conte and nickel back Kelvin Hayden also had rough nights, as the Bears' defense allowed three big passing plays of 30 or more yards. For the first time this season, the Bears' secondary was a liability in a game. Let's hope it's the last time.

4. Regardless of experience, being an NFL backup QB is tough: What Colin Kaepernick did was unbelievable. But he is more of the exception to the rule. No. 2 quarterbacks are backups for a reason, and Jason Campbell proved that Monday night. I give Campbell tons of credit for sticking in there, playing hurt and always acting like a true professional, but there were too many times where he hung on to the ball too long or was off-target with his passes for a guy making his 71st career start. Campbell had to deal with a ton of pressure all night, but Caleb Hanie also had to play behind that below-average offensive line last year. And nobody cut Hanie any slack. Will they say the same about Campbell? The good news is Cutler should be back next week and Campbell will likely return to his backup role, and that is exactly where he should be.

5. The 49ers can't move to Santa Clara fast enough: What is it about this place that the Bears can't win? They are now 0-9 at Candlestick Park since 1985, and most of those games haven't even been close. Maybe it's the long flight, or the cramped visiting locker rooms or the poorly lit field (do the Niners pay the electric bill here?), but whatever it is, the Bears can't overcome it. Perhaps the Bears have to come back out here for a playoff game in a few months. It could happen. If it does, they need to do an exorcism or something, because right now this old stadium has them spooked.