Niners at Bears Game Preview: Loser Goes Home, The (Beautiful) French Dispatch, Snoozer Coming?

| October 29th, 2021

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But currently there are elements of the franchise I like far more than others.

Offensively, the team is an off-night at the Comedy Cellar: predictable, boring, bad. Every time you think things might improve, maybe THIS comic is the next big thing, you are drowned in a sea of discarded Louis C.K. material.

And it is very hard to like the them defensively without Khalil Mack and possibly without Robert Quinn. The entire defense is built on the availability and dominance of those two players. Without them, and without a pass rush, what are they?

Loser Goes Home Match?

The Bears are 3-4. They’ve been embarrassed in all four of their losses. Another loss sends them to 3-5, and leaves them needing a 6-2 finish to play in the tournament as the likely 7-seed. (And hey, that might earn them a return visit to Tampa!) Their head coach even has me calling for his firing. This is it. This game is the fork in the schedule.

The Niners are 2-4. They’ve lost four straight and their season is drifting away from them. They don’t know what they’re doing at quarterback. They’ve played about 28 running backs. Their head coach – who until this point has received zero criticism from anyone – is now being asked to defend a pretty poor NFL coaching record. A loss Sunday and it’s another wasted season.

There’s always a mathematical argument to keep a team alive but the loser of Sunday’s game at Soldier Field is dead. The Bears will not lose to a bad Niners team at home and then go on the road, in primetime, and beat the Steelers. (Especially without the ability to pressure Roethlisberger.) The Niners won’t be marching Jimmy G. out there much longer as the losses mount. And a move to Trey Lance, while inevitable, will announce the end of their 2021 prospects.

No, both of the teams are desperate to win Sunday. But more honestly, they are desperate not to lose.

HughesReviews: The French Dispatch

It is often hard to explain what one doesn’t like about a particular filmmaker but in the case of Wes Anderson, I have never found that to be the case. His films – at least the films since Rushmore – have always felt like artifice for artifice’s sake; polished, pretty, planned within an inch of their lives, while being devoid of all human life. They are admirable works, sure, in the same way a high-end French restaurant can deliver a plate of beautiful cuisine. But at some point you have to pick up your fork and eat the fucking thing.

The French Dispatch is a distinct, and powerful, departure. Because of the picture’s narrative framing – stories told by the brilliant writers of an expat periodical in the fictional village of Ennui, France – the visual devices that might have previously felt indulgent instead feel essential to the storytelling. Dispatch is, in my ways, the first perfect marriage of story and style for Anderson. And in that regard, it is arguably his best picture: a beautiful story, beautifully told.

And while Tilda Swinton’s toothy lecturer had me cackling in my seat as she announced the crowd she’d be taking her drink, the entire cast, even in truncated form, are delightful. Anderson lets his performers breathe in this film. He frames them beautifully, of course, but he lets them live in that frame. And we should all be thankful for that.

Stats of the Week

  • Niners have the 5th ranked pass defense in the NFL but have two glaring flaws on that side of the ball: they only have 12 sacks and 1 interception. Now, one could argue this is the week they’ll be able to pad both of those stats but the Bears are clearly going to limit their exposure on the edges of their offensive line and try to run it 40 times. (They proved last week they can run the ball on anyone.)
  • This is the first real turnover gap in weeks, with the Bears -2 and the Niners -7. Only the Jets, Chiefs and Jaguars have a worse turnover differential than San Francisco. (This strikes me as the kind of game where you win the turnover battle, you win the game.)
  • Third-down conversion percentage (offense): San Francisco, 31.43%/Chicago, 31.25%
    • These are two of the worst three teams in the league in this statistical department, with the Jaguars sandwiched between them.
  • Red-zone conversion percentage (defense): San Francisco, 72.7%/Chicago, 51.9%
    • The Bears are playing significantly better defense in the red zone than the Niners. When (if) the Bears get there, they must capitalize.

My Favorite Song at the Moment

Tweet of the Week


What would an organization do to ensure a rookie quarterback has success?

(1) Ensure that rookie is given as many reps as possible with the starters before ever seeing an NFL field. X

(2) Ensure that rookie is protected so that he has time to process the action. X

(3) Design an offense with a ton of quick, easy throws to get him into the game rhythm weeklyX

Have the Bears done any of it? Of course not. Justin Fields has been mismanaged since the day he was drafted.

Game Prediction

Man, this game figures to be a tough watch.

Neither team plays good offense. Both play pretty good defense. So this matchup comes down to which roster wants to fight for their head coach, fight to keep their season alive. And it just doesn’t seem like that is going to be the Chicago Bears.

San Francisco 49ers 26, Chicago Bears 18*

*I really don’t want this to happen. I want to see Justin Fields flourish and put 30 up on the Niners. I just don’t believe it’s going to happen with this coach. And I’m starting to get the sense Fields agrees with me.

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