Saturday, August 25, 2007

Secret Slumber Party is Over, So It's Time for Football

Random perk of living in San Francisco: 49ers preseason games are broadcast on the local CBS broadcast channel. Which means I get to watch the Bears game tonight even though I don't have cable. I don't even have to wait for the NFL Network rebroadcast.

Apparently the story of the presason for the 49ers is that the offense has looked sharp. Let's see how they look against a really strong Bears Defense.

First two plays: San Francisco kicks the ball out of bounds trying to avoid a return. Grossman goes deep to Berrian for about thirty-five yards. Pretty nice.

49ers broadcast guy apparently doesn't understand football rules. On 2&10 Grossman threw to Berrian in the end zone, but Berrian was out of bounds. There was a penalty on the play, because the corner pushed Berrian after the five yard zone, so it was a 10-yard penalty. 49ers guy says "The ball wasn't in the air, so I don't understand where the interference was." Three straight decent runs lead to 4 & a short one from the two-yard line. Chicago goes for it and Benson punches his way in for six.

"Bear dooooowwwn, Chicago Bears!!!!" My roommates are looking at me funny...

It was Walt Harris who got beat on that deep Grossman-to-Berrian on the first play.

We still don't get to see the real Bears defense, cuz Tommie Harris isn't playing. Mark Anderson makes the -1 yard stop on the first running play. 49ers broadcast guys just laugh about how incredible the starting lineup of the Bears defense is, then 49ers punt to Hester, who breaks a number of tackles for a return back to about the fifty yard line. As they're cutting to commercial, 49er color guy says, "That guy is just...."

49ers wanted to come out and prove something after their humiliation at the hands of the Bears last season. They're not doing too good a job of it.

3-yard pass to Hester. The only kind of play I've seen go to Hester so far: Grossman throws immediately to Hester on the line, who tries to jump around for a couple of seconds and then gets gang tackled.

Grossman still looks pretty good. Laser for about twenty yards to Des Clark. Then he goes to Davis in the end zone, but it was just over his hands. Then Grossman fumbles a snap... what the hell... everyone boos...

Grossman makes a nice throw to Bradley, but Bradley wasn't expecting the ball so he it's fourth down. Field goal, Robbie Gould. 10-0 Bears.

49ers kick returner is so afraid of Bears special teams coverage that he just falls down all by himself for about a ten yard return. Bears defense is in the backfield on the run, but 49ers pick up a couple, than a couple more on another run. I don't think Gore's running, though. Bears look like they go offsides on 3&7, but, no, it's a false start. 3&12. Bears were all over the 49ers backfield again before the refs stopped the play. Bears stop the running back before the first, M.Brown jumps up screaming so loudly I can hear it here in SF. Berrian's returning punts now... or at least fair-catching them...

I wish the 49ers crew would tell me what's up with Hester, but I assume that since they haven't it's nothing too serious. They cut to the trainers looking like they were sort of rubbing his shoulders, so maybe he had some kind of a stinger or something. But if he is kind of injured, why is our starting receiver now returning punts in a preseason game? He called for the fair catch while no one was anywhere near him, so maybe he's not going to risk anything.

Benson gets five, then Grossman for eight yards to Jason McKie. Jason McKie? Did he catch any first down passes all last season? Grossman for about twenty-four yards to Greg Olsen. SF defense isn't even challenging the Bears offense. So far they've only stalled because Grossman fumbled that snap and then Bradley dropped the ball. Benson gets two yards on a pass, then about six on a run up the middle. It'd be nice to see Benson break one at some point. Peterson's in and he picks up the first. Benson's back in for about five or six right side off tackle. Another run around the right side to Benson, but he's flattened after jumping over his blocker for no real gain. End of First quarter.

Can't complain really about much in that first quarter, aside from another fumbled snap. At least this time, Grossman shrugged it off and has continued to look like he did before the fumbled snap. And it is wet out there. Anyway, doesn't look like it's a problem the same way it was last game.

First play of the second quarter: Grossman to Berrian for a TD. Then Berrian gets penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for celebrating with Rashied Davis. Maybe the refs just figure they need a little practicing making that call. Extra point is good. 17-0 Chicago.

Oh yeah, Gore has the hurt hand, I just remembered. 49ers showing some beefcake photos of Vernon Davis from Muscle & Fitness and talking about how Vernon Davis might be the best athlete in the NFL. Who's Vernon Davis?

Alex Smith has time in the back field, but settles for a three-yard dumpoff to somebody who gets immediately leveled by Briggs. Robinson runs to the right side and is followed the whole way by the entire Bears defensive line. Gain of a few feet. I guess Vernon Davis is a tight end, who isn't satisfied with what he's done so far in this league, and he is reportedly and "emotional player." Good for him. Alex Smith doesn't think anything's working (he's right0 so he calls time out, hoping that will help. It won't. A GMC commercial at least affords me the opportunity to listen to Modern English for about thirty seconds. Now Alex Smith does his best Rex Grossman and fumbles a snap for a loss of two yards. 49ers are totally screwed. Alex Smith mouths "fuck," then the Bears replacement punt returner somebody James fumbles the punt. 49ers ball on the Bears six. I agree with Alex Smith. 49ers run up the middle for about a yard and a half. Another run up the middle gets 49ers to about the two yard line. It'd be nice to see a big stop here, but I'm predicting a 49ers touchdown. Let's see: yep. What a revoltin' development. Poor Drisan James just screwed up his only chance to make the Bears team.

Danieal Manning returns the kickoff and it looks like when anyone else returns a kickoff. Hester makes me spoiled. Benson runs for a loss of two, and the 49ers hope there's a tide being turned... Grossman throws it out of bounds over Rashied Davis's head, and somehow the Bears lost a yard on an incomplete pass: it goes from 2&12 to 3&13. Grossman hit as he throws to Clark; 49ers dback made a decent play to almost pick it off in front of Clark. Maynard bobbles the snap then runs for a first down. Go Bears special teams!!! Refs missed a hold by McGowan, according to 49ers comment guy. 9-yard throw to Berrian make sit 2nd and 1. Benson rumbles through the line for about three or four. 1st & 10 leads to 2nd & 10 after Benson is leveled at the line of scrimmage. Nice throw for about 25 yards to Mark Bradley. I heart Mark Bradley. Hope he breaks out this year. Reverse to Berrian picks up another first, I think. Yep. Now it's 1st & goal from about the six. Benson leans forward for four yards. He really looks consistent, but, like I said, it'd be encouraging to see a break every now and then from him. Grossman zips the ball into the back of the end zone to Clark, who spikes the ball emphatically almost before the cameraman catches up the ball. 24-10. There probably isn't much point for the Bears first team to play any more. I wonder if they will?

Michael Robinson fights pretty well for about three or four yards, and the 49ers guys try to plug him for us for a while. Like he matters playing behind Gore. Another couple of yards for Robinson. 3rd & 5 leads to a 1-yard sack shared by Briggs and Ogunleye. Rashied Davis watches the punt roll out of bounds. So far the 49ers punter is the only guy who hasn't fumbled a snap in this game.

Bears 1st team offense still in. Benson runs around the left side for about six yards after pushing a couple of guys off of him, and then McKie is clobbered for a loss of one yard. Peterson's in on 3rd & 6, and Walt Harris picks off a Grossman throw and takes it back for a touchdown. Grossman has 2 TDs and 1 Int. Can't really complain about that ratio, but I'm sure people will. It was a good play by Harris, not really a stupid mistake by Grossman. Actually, on replay, it looks like Olsen could've done more to make sure he got the ball rather than Harris, but he was falling away from the pass. 49ers miss the extra point.

Rashied returns the kickoff from the end zone to about the 22-yard line. No commercial break, so Grossman's back with the ball in his hands less than a minute after throwing an interception. The 49ers guys now are talking about how Grossman is terrible. He's the only quarterback in the league who would be getting that criticism right now after the game he's played today. There are legitimate complaints against him, but he's had a great game so far today. first play is another decent Benson run for about three, followed by Grossman throwing the ball out of bounds in the general direction of Davis. First down pass to Mike Haas. Lawson jumps McKie's route and was somewhat close to getting a second pick. Bears fans boo and grumble. Come on, Bears fans! Get it together! 49ers run Lawson talking about planning his celebrations. All well and good, but he still doesn't have anything to celebrate. Peterson takes a screen pass about eight yards; 4th and about two. Bears punting after two-minute warning. Williams calls for a fair catch, and still backs away in fear of the advancing Bears special teams. Nice.

Bears take the ball out of Robinson's hands, then Vasher picks up the fumble and runs backwards for a while, looking like he was trying to get some blockers set up in front of him, then runs back about twenty yards. Bears ball on 49ers twenty.

Benson stopped at the line of scrimmage. Mike Haas apparently in with the first team right now. Grossman to Olsen for about fifteen; Olsen knocked off a 49ers helmet on his way out of bounds. Olsen runs off the field with a limp-looking shoulder. Hopefully nothing serious. Doesn't look like it as no one's looking at Olsen on the sidelines. Grossman rolls out on 1st and Goal, then throws the ball out of bounds when nobody can get open, but 49ers had 12 dudes on the field, so it's first and goal from the 2.5 yard line. Benson loses a yard on a run at the left side. 49ers read that play perfectly. Peterson takes it up the left side into the end zone. After the extra point, it's 31-13. That's a palindrome! 49ers comment crew reports a lot of frustration in the 49ers coaching booth next to them. Natch. Now some footage of Bill George destroying people, followed by Dick Butkus, then Singletary. I love the Bears. Have I ever mentioned that?

The Bears kick the ball to the 49ers for the second time after the two-minute warning, and then the 49ers run the ball just so they don't look like pussies, and let the clock run out.

At half, Grossman is 13/20 with 211 yards, 2TDs and 1 INT. He only has one-third of the fumbled snaps so far. Anyone who complains about his play in this game so far is stupid, but I guarantee there are people who pretty much think he came out and fumbled the ball all over the field and threw all sorts of interceptions. Benson has continued to look like a solid workhorse back, but I really do think I'd feel a lot better about him if he could get a couple of big gains now and then. I just haven't seen him come close to doing that yet. The half-time show is about the 49ers "Gold Rush Girls." Lame. I'm glad the Bears don't have cheerleaders.

I think that's it for me and this liveblogginng thing for now. Tip of my hat to Mr. Strohl: this is really pretty hard. I'm just gonna watch the second half for fun.

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