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This is another game where it is nearly impossible to read anything into the performances in this game because a steady, driving snow that made the ball and the field slick. Visibility was not good either. It was like the Green Bay-Houston game. The two starting QBs were 0-fer-4 combined passing in the first quarter. The first pass of the game by either QB was completed with 7+ minutes left in the second quarter.
Both teams are going nowhere this season, record-wise, but I would like to point out something I observed in this game between hapless teams…
The 49ers played this game with all the passion and enthusiasm of a hostage being forced to read a prepared-by-the-state message with two masked men with machine guns standing behind them.
The Bears played this game as if they climbed the mountain and won the Super Bowl. A ton of shouting, jumping, high-fives, and hugs after plays.
These two teams entered the game separated by one win in the standings (the race for the #1 draft pick), but they played like they were separated by 10 games.
— My only two offensive player notes are on tight ends…
You’re going to hate Vance McDonald (2-9-0/4 targets) for delivering this egg at the wrong time, for those who used him. Just note the conditions, which led to 49er QBs completing a total of 5 passes for the game for 39 yards. McDonald accounted for 40% of the catches and 25% of the yards in passing game…from a ‘cup is half full’ perspective. I don’t change my outlook on him, or ignore the recent trending just because of this game. He’s a legit TE1 option in this current TE environment.
Daniel Brown (2-13-0/2 targets) – you can’t use him yet for fantasy in 12-team leagues. Not even worth rostering redraft. That said – he has a future at TE…and maybe a shock TE1 down the road. He almost scored a TD in this game, which would have given him back-to-back games with scores.
Inside the 49ers’ 10-yard line, Brown came across on a shotgun snap and got a slick shuttle pass, and raced up the middle looking for the end zone, but was tackled short. He doesn’t move like a TE. He moves like a WR…like he was at the beginning of his NFL journey. He’s moving like a WR, but he’s getting bigger. Physically he’s like a TE. He looks like a young Greg Olsen, quite frankly. I don’t know if he can play TE as well as Olsen, but visually, he reminds me of Olsen. He’s still in his first few months of conversion to TE.
Let’s talk defense…
— Of all the things I saw in re-watches of games this week, the thing that is sticking out in my mind is the Chicago Bears’ defense. I know it was snowing. I know it was the 49ers. I know. I’m just saying – they are not that bad. They have many interesting, young pieces. They have a solid, unique group on the defensive line. Their secondary is unheralded, but having a hell of a season.
Did you know the Bears’ pass defense is #6 (220.3 yards per game) in the league right now?
#7 in sacks (31.0).
10th best in passing TDs allowed (17).
You could say it’s because ‘teams can run all over them‘, but that’s not true either. They’re #18 against the run (106.5 yards per game). #10 in YPC allowed (3.9). #11 in rushing TDs allowed.
They’re not the ’84 Bears’, but they are pretty decent…and improving. Offensive points allowed in recent games (last 5 games): 10-27-22-21-6.
You can’t use them for a DST play the rest of the way because – Stafford-Rodgers-Cousins. But they might give Stafford some fits here. For sure, the Bears are not a big, fat green light to start your opposing offensive players against with mocking confidence.
Some Chicago IDP players to get to know…
— Akiem Hicks (10 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF) went off in this game. Above all players, he was playing this game like it was the Super Bowl. He was screaming (in a good way) at players. He was so pumped after every tackle-sack-stop.
He is a former third-round pick of the Saints in 2012, who New Orleans let go quickly into his career, and was snatched by the Patriots last season. This year he has 6.0 sacks playing DT and DE for the Bears, mostly an unstoppable DT/NT in this game.
In his last five games: 4.4 tackles, 0.80 sacks per game.
— Nick Kwiatkoski (9 tackles, 2 TFLs) is every linebacker from the 1970s, only taller. A stiff, blockade of a human. He gives good effort. He tackles things that come his way. He’s playing every down as the starter due to all the Bears’ injuries and suspensions. He’s not the future, but he’s OK right now.
— The most impressive Bears’ IDP when I re-re-watched this game to only watch the Bears’ defensive movements – safety Harold Jones-Quartey (9 tackles, 1 TFL). He’s one of my new favorite players in the NFL, on defense. That dude just flies to the ball. Every time there is a play out in the flat and there are like 2–3–4 defenders nearby – it’s HJQ who blazes past them to make the contact.
He is an incredible athlete on paper. 5′11″/215 with a so-so 4.70 40-time, but then everything else…20 bench reps, 40″ vertical, 11′1″ broad jump, and a terrific 6.78 three-cone. He’s got the prototypical NFL safety size and athleticism…the type who starts and maybe ‘stars’.
The prior two games to this one, HJQ barely played two to three snaps in the game. I have no idea why. Probably benched – he’s been benched before for getting into a verbal fight with Adrian Amos on the sidelines this season.
All I know is this: take away the Week 6 game he got benched for fighting with a teammate and whatever happened the last two games where he didn’t play, and look at his numbers in the nine games he did play most/all of the game: 6.3 tackles per game, a pace for 100+ in a season. In his last four games of actual play – 7.3 tackles per game.
HJQ is a great athlete and tackler, but we’ll have to see if he can improve in pass coverage and temperament on the sidelines.
A quick Jones-Quartey bio: Harold Jones-Quartey Background Piece from 2015
— On the 49ers side – Nick Bellore (11 tackles) is the better version of Nick Kwiatkoski. He’s a throwback linebacker as well, but he moves a lot quicker than Kwiatkoski.
In nine games, since becoming a starter, Bellore is averaging 7.4 tackles, 0.50 TFLs, 0.4 PDs per game.
— What has happened to Jaquiski Tartt (4 tackles)? The guy was a tackling machine throughout college and in preseasons – he destroyed people with devastating hits. He’s finally getting a chance to start and he’s putting up 2–3–4 tackles in a game. Not what I expected. He’s just not that involved or is hanging back in coverage. I expected more from him for IDP purposes.