Here is a link to my Monday column about the 49ers’ 28-20 loss to the Bears with a special emphasis on the crummy play of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The full text runs below:
Colin Kaepernick blew the game for the 49ers. There’s no polite way to put it.
It’s on you, Colin, the 28-20 loss to the Bears.
Sure, other 49ers didn’t play well. The defense, minus Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman, played like chumps, made Bears quarterback Jay Cutler look like Joe Montana. Couldn’t get pressure on him. Couldn’t defend the Bears’ receivers. Couldn’t do anything. The defense allowed the so-so Bears, the injured Bears, who seemed down and out, to come all the way back from 17-0. Ugly.
But Kaepernick blew it. He blew it early and he blew it late. And he really blew it when it mattered, when a quarterback – him – had to be a cool leader under pressure.
Instead, he cracked up, lost his quarterback mind in front of the sellout crowd in the first game ever at the Niners’ new digs.
Let’s review his quarterback sins, starting with the little ones and leading to the whoppers. Believe me, there were whoppers.
In the first quarter, he threw a pick. But the pick was disallowed because Kaepernick’s pass hit the ground before the defender scooped it up. That was the ruling on review. So, Kaepernick got a reprieve. He didn’t know what to do with it.
Early in the second quarter, he threw a pick. On the very next offensive series, he fumbled and lost the ball.
Tally it up. Two turnovers and counting. And those were just Kaepernick’s tiny sins.
Cut to the fourth quarter. The Bears had cut the Niners’ lead to six points. The Niners had the ball. Kaepernick broke the huddle. Strode to the line of scrimmage. Looked good. This was his chance to run out the clock, to take over, to win the game. To be a hero. It’s what they’re paying him for.
He took the snap. Looked for Michael Crabtree. Pick. The Bears got the ball at the 49ers’ goal line and scored a touchdown on one play. The Bears took a one-point lead.
Kaepernick wasn’t done offending the football gods. On the very next series, he was leading a drive — sort of — when he threw yet another pick. His fourth turnover. The Bears got the ball and, of course, scored a touchdown — 28-20 Bears.
Something you should know. The final two picks — his big sins — both were passes to the left side. Kaepernick does not see the left side. Amend that. He does not see the left side well enough. Does not see it as he should. Lacks vision over there. He is deficient passing to his left side. Not good in a quarterback.
That’s why he runs so much. He is an exciting runner for a quarterback. Heck, he’s an exciting runner. Period. But he runs sometimes — too often — because he simply does not see.
Back to the game. Because it wasn’t over. The 49ers were down by eight with almost seven minutes to go. Eight is a do-able number. You score a touchdown and make the two-point conversion, you’re in overtime. Teams can do that. Not a team with Kaepernick running it.
He led the 49ers down the field. He often is good in the middle of the field where he has room, where he has options. Where he can throw right. He got the 49ers to the red zone with a little less than two minutes to go. An eternity. He threw incomplete to Stevie Johnson who was wide open.
On third down with 12 to go, the Niners on Chicago’s 20, he couldn’t call the play in time. Got whistled for delay of game. Where have seen that before? A Colin specialty, getting confused at crunch time.
Then he hit Frank Gore for 8 yards. Now, it was fourth-and-9 with plenty of time. Whom did he throw to? Michael Crabtree. He always throws to Crabtree to lose a game. It’s Kaepernick’s signature move. Incomplete. Game over.
It’s on you, Colin. You and your four turnovers, including three picks, including four sacks. Yikes.
Afterward, Jim Harbaugh came to the big interview room. This time it was Catatonic Jim. He has many personalities. You can’t blame him for being catatonic this time. He just coached a flop.
Harbaugh on why Kaepernick got intercepted three times: “Made some great plays, interceptions, good plays.”
I guess Harbaugh was talking about Chicago. The poor guy was so emotionally wrecked he couldn’t speak in complete sentences.
On why the 49ers committed so many penalties — a nauseating 16: Well, Harbaugh couldn’t speak. He stood there tight-lipped. When pressed, he finally said he didn’t know.
On why the 49ers were called for delay of game in the final drive: “Took too much time at the line of scrimmage.”
You could have fooled me.
On whether Kaepernick was confused at what he saw leading to the killer interceptions: “I think he was seeing things good. He threw some pretty good balls that got intercepted, well-played balls that got intercepted. Tip your cap to the defense.”
That’s one way of looking at it, Jim. I’m sure the defense tipped its cap to Kaepernick.
Finally, disconsolate Harbaugh tried to spread the blame, to dilute some of the Kaepernick blame. “We all had fingerprints on it,” he mumbled, meaning lots of players had a hand in the loss.
For sure. But Kaepernick’s fingerprints were the boldest, the biggest, the most-clearly defined. If this were a mystery story, he would be the prime suspect. If this were a tale of sin and redemption, he’d need forgiveness.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.