The San Francisco 49ers lost a hard-fought game to the Chicago Bears on Sunday 14-9. The offensive line performed well in protecting quarterback Nick Mullens but was unable to generate any yardage on the ground with only 47 yards. The final opponent of the season is the Los Angeles Rams who have been stellar all year.
Preview Versus The Rams
When the 49ers last played the Rams in Week 8 they gave up seven sacks. Four of those sacks were to Aaron Donald who recently set an NFL record for defensive tackles with 19.5 sacks for the season. He is one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL and is a top candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 2018. He is the only member of the Rams front seven to be selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019.
The 49ers also allowed two sacks to linebacker Cory Littleton in that frist meeting which is half of his four sacks for 2018. He has 121 tackles for the season. He was also a major problem against the run in their previous matchup with eight tackles.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has had a relatively productive season with 4.5 sacks but has gone through a bit of a drought recently with only one sack in the past five games. He did not have any sacks against the 49ers in Week 8.
One of the unsung stars of the Rams defense has been outside linebacker Samson Ebukam. The second-year player has been a consistent all-around player throughout the season. He has 24 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception for the season.
Review Versus The Bears
Early in the second quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from the Bears 32-yard line. The Bears brought a fierce pass rush and quickly pushed the 49ers offensive line back. The 49ers stood their ground and gave Mullens just enough time to complete the pass for a first down.
The 49ers were anemic in their ground attack for most of the game but they did show signs of life in short yardage situations. In the middle of the second quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-2 from the Bears 18-yard line. Running back Matt Breida ran the ball up the middle and took advantage of the offensive line’s effort. The first down was gained and the 49ers ended up kicking a field goal to go up 6-0.
Late in the 2nd quarte,r the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from their own 45-yard line. Left tackle Joe Staley battled the Bears defensive end who tried to beat Staley from his outside shoulder. Meanwhile, right tackle Mike McGlinchey battled Leonard Floyd who used a spin move trying to get to Mullens. Both defenders were unsuccessful as the tackles were able to contain their assignments.
Early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from their own 26-yard line. Mullens took an extra moment to look for an open receiver while his offensive line blocked a furious pass rush. The offensive line did not allow anyone to get close to Mullens as he was able to complete the pass for the first down.
Late in the fourth quarter, the 49ers faced 2nd-and-10 from their own 24-yard line. Staley battled Khalil Mack who pushed Staley into Mullens. Staley stood his ground and shoved Mack out of the way giving Mullens time to throw for the first down.
In the middle of the first quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-9 from their own 28-yard line. A Bears defensive lineman blocked a Mullens pass to end the drive.
In the middle of the second quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from the Bears 15-yard line. Mullens was flushed out of the pocket by Mack and Floyd who had gotten past Staley and McGlinchey. Mullens threw a pass in the end zone but it was incomplete.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from the Bears 20-yard line. The offensive line battled hard but the Bears were able to break through the middle and get close to Mullens. His pass was intercepted ending the drive.
On the final play of the game, the 49ers faced 4th-and-4 from the Bears 45-yard line. Right guard Mike Person battled defensive tackle Akiem Hicks while Mullens looked for an open receiver. When Mullens scrambled out of the pocket Hicks knocked Person on his back. Hicks never got close to Mullens who threw an incomplete pass to end the game.
In the middle of the third quarter, the 49ers faced 2nd-and-8 from their own 34-yard line. McGlinchey was focused on helping Person with his assignment when rookie linebacker Roquan Smith sped through the line unblocked for the sack.
Early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-10 from their own 35-yard line. McGlinchey lined up against two Chicago defenders and had to choose between the two. Mack was lined up far outside of McGlinchey and had a great angle for an effective pass rush. He went untouched towards Mullens and hit the quarterback while he threw a completed pass which was short of a first down.
When the 49ers last played the Rams, they were a different team. C.J. Beathard was starting at quarterback and since Mullens has taken over the 49ers have won three out of seven games. Facing off against the Rams is never an easy task and with them battling for a playoff bye the 49ers should expect their best effort.
The Rams front seven is loaded with stars but the 49ers offensive line has had moments of brilliance against some of the NFL’s premier pass rushers over the course of the season. Sunday’s game will show just how far the 49ers have to go in order to be a division contender again.