According to Dana Carvey in 1995, yelling that phrase was the surest way to get immediate verbal support among a crowd of strangers in San Francisco. It's San Fran's version of a Chicagoan breaking out the Super Fans voice in the middle of a bar for a spirited and guttural "Daaaaaa Bearss!" You can pretty much guarantee at least three people sitting near you will break away from their conversations just long enough to drop their own "Bearss. Bearss." It's a reflex.
Monday night, however, I dropped my own "[bleepin'] 49ers" with regularity, and not in celebration. That game was torturous. The Niners' first drive was a nightmare and events only got worse. It was 10-0 at the end of one quarter and 20-0 at the half. The final score was 32-7, with San Fran getting its final points on a safety originally and bizarrely ruled an incomplete pass when Bears guard Chilo Rachal picked up a fumble in the end zone and appeared to throw it onto the field of play.
It was then determined that Rachal's knee was down, hence the safety, to which my father remarked matter of factly, "Hey, he saved us five points."
This was a bloodbath. It was a dismantling. That's probably the best word for it—the act of picking something apart piece by piece and, if possible, placing it back in its box and sending it back where it came from.
From a score perspective, this wasn't the worst Bears loss I've endured, even to the 49ers. I've watched Bears teams lose to San Fran by scores of 41-0, 26-0, 52-14, 44-15 and 49-7. But this game carried the most impact. It was a cross between being totally deflating on an immediate level while being soul-crushing in a long-term sense.
Like last week's loss to Houston, this was a game that gave us a vision of what the 2012 Bears losing in the playoffs might look like. But it was also a dose of total embarrassment mixed with shame and confusion.
The Bears have had trouble with good teams this year. They have played three Super Bowl contenders—the Packers, Texans and 49ers—and lost by a combined score of 68-23. Against the 49ers, everything was bad. San Francisco outperformed the Bears in every aspect, and nearly every statistic points to a Niners demolition.
And while the Bears again failed to bag a meaningful win with a backup QB at the helm, the 49ers discovered yet another talented quarterback, this one named Colin Kaepernick, a man whom Jon Gruden compared to Randall Cunningham. By the end of the game, Bears fans would have been happy to see Jason Campbell compared to Colin Kaepernick.
But nothing would have been further from reality. Campbell was brave and tough yet helpless and ineffective, and the Bears are now 7-3, again tied with Green Bay for the lead in the division. Monday's game does not mean the Bears won't make the playoffs. It just means that this is how they might play once they get there.
Special contributor Jack M Silverstein covers the Bears for RedEye. Say hey @ReadJack.
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