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Kaepernick benched, Bears humiliate 49ers in 11th straight loss




A matchup that will help determine the order of the NFL Draft was even more atrocious than expected Sunday in snowy Chicago, where the Bears clobbered the 49ers 26-6.

Wet conditions forced both teams so scrap their game plans, and the results produced an all-time eye-sore for the ugliest season in 49ers history. San Francisco has now lost 11 games in a row.

On offense, the 49ers could not complete a pass, going 5/15 for 6 yards, the second-fewest yards in franchise history. On defense, they were shredded by Matt Barkley, a journeyman quarterback making his second career start. Colin Kaepernick was benched for Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter and the 49ers committed 11 penalties for 106 yards. Pure misery.

The 49ers ran the ball 30 times in the first half and only threw it twice, the fewest total in the NFL since 2005. Kaepernick, who wasn’t wearing a glove on his throwing hand, couldn’t throw an accurate pass (1/5, 4 yards, sacked five times) but Chip Kelly will still be questioned for his conservative play calling in the snow. Especially because of how well Chicago played offensively.

Late in the second quarter, the Bears opened things up for Matt Barkley, who put ice skates on the 49ers secondary. Barkley completed 11/18 of his passes for 192 yards and by far looked like the best quarterback on the field. Rookie running back Jordan Howard rammed past the 49ers front-seven for 117 yards rushing on 32 carries and scored all three touchdowns. Little-known receiver Joshua Bellamy torched both Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward in coverage, hauling 4 catches for 93 yards. Chicago’s 24 points were a season-high.

One poor game in the snow won’t discredit the success Kaepernick has had this season, but it was eye-opening that Barkley made big plays and Kap couldn’t even get a grip on the football. Gabbert proved to be no better and was sacked for a safety with 1:55 remaining. His stats: 4/10, 35 yards. Christian Ponder was inactive.

The 49ers cost themselves four points in the second quarter in the most embarrassing fashion. Shaun Draughn blocked a punt, Dontae Johnson returned it for what he thought was a touchdown, but he stepped out of bounds. Because they thought the play resulted in a touchdown, Johnson and teammates began doing snow angels in the end zone, and were flagged for excessive celebration. The 49ers were forced to settle for a Phil Dawson 31-yard field goal instead of having the ball first-and-goal. Dawson would add another 28-yarder later in the second quarter and is now 17/18 on the season.

Carlos Hyde rushed 20 times for 92 yards. He continues to be a rock for this offense and one of the only true building blocks on GM Trent Baalke’s roster.

Neither team completed a pass until 7:32 left in the second quarter, when Kaepernick found Vance McDonald for 4 yards underneath. It was the first time since 1988 two teams failed to complete a pass in the first quarter.

The embarrassing part for the 49ers is that the Bears have 15 players on the injured reserve list and Barkley at quarterback. San Francisco became the first ever 1-10 road team to be favored in a game, and yet they were curb-stomped by one of the NFL’s worst teams.

The snow is always supposed to be an equalizer, but instead, it was the Bears coaching staff exposing the 49ers’s.  San Francisco will host the New York Jets next Sunday in Santa Clara.