NFL News & Analysis

SF-CHI grades: Rookie RB Jordan Howard helps power Bears' win

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears 26, San Francisco 49ers 6

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chicago Bears’ 26-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers:

Chicago Bears

Quarterback grade: Matt Barkley, 83.8

Barkley finds rhythm after slow start

The Bears started the game conservatively, and Barkley attempted only three passes in the first quarter of his second career start. However, once Chicago was trailing, he was asked to move the chains with his passes, and he did exactly that. Barkley received a lot of help from his offensive line, and he took advantage of the situation, as he had a passer rating of 115.3 on dropbacks when he was kept clean. On the other hand, the Chicago signal-caller failed to complete any of his three attempts under pressure.


Top offensive grades:

RB Jordan Howard, 85.6

T Bobby Massie, 77.8

C Cody Whitehair, 77.2

WR Cameron Meredith, 76.6

TE Logan Paulsen, 75.0

Rookie Howard gets the job done

Chicago’s running back continued his impressive rookie campaign, as he rushed for more than 100 yards and scored three touchdowns. While Howard did not have a lot of splash plays and failed to break a single tackle, he did his fair share of gradually breaking down the 49ers' defense. While Howard averaged only 3.7 yards on his 32 carries, 64 of his 117 yards came after contact, as he created problems for defenders when it came to taking him to the ground.

Top defensive grades:

S Harold Jones-Quartey, 86.5

DI Akiem Hicks, 84.5

CB Bryce Callahan, 82.8

LB Nick Kwiatkoski, 82.6

CB Tracy Porter, 80.0

Disciplined and disruptive defense leads to win

Despite the weather conditions, the Chicago defense missed only six tackles, which played a big part in earning the win against San Francisco. In addition, the front seven was able to disrupt pass and run plays as well. Interior defender Akiem Hicks led the team in total pressures, as he recorded three sacks and two quarterback hurries. The Bears played well in coverage, too, as they broke up two passes and allowed only four receptions for 34 yards.

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback grade: Colin Kaepernick, 42.6

Kaepernick benched after unimpressive performance

While the 49ers did not exactly ask Kaepernick to throw all over the field against Chicago, the San Francisco signal-caller still performed below expectations before being replaced by Blaine Gabbert. While he was also victimized by one drop, Kapernick completed only one of his pass attempts.


Top offensive grades:

T Joe Staley, 81.5

TE Garrett Celek, 70.0

RB Carlos Hyde, 66.5

WR Jeremy Kerley, 65.7

RB Shaun Draughn, 63.7

Surrounding cast does not provide a lot of help for quarterbacks

San Francisco’s offensive line had a day to forget, as every starter allowed at least two pressures on the 27 plays they had to pass protect. Center Daniel Kilgore allowed the most pressures, as he surrendered two sacks and gave up an additional three quarterback hurries. And while left tackle Joe Staley made up for his pass-blocking struggles in the running game, the other members of the unit did not really excel in that facet of the game, either. In addition, 49ers wide receivers struggled in the snowy weather conditions and dropped two of the six catchable passes going their way.

Top defensive grades:

S Antoine Bethea, 75.3

DI DeForest Buckner, 75.0

LB Gerald Hodges, 72.9

LB Nick Bellore, 70.0

ED Ahmad Brooks, 68.1

49ers defense unable to generate pressure and make key stops

While San Francisco’s defense made a good job tackling and missed only one tackle all day, it was not an above-average performance from the unit overall. They were able to generate pressure on only four of Matt Barkley’s 20 dropbacks and sacked him only once. In addition, the 49ers struggled in coverage as they failed to record an interception or break up a pass all game. Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward struggled in particular, as they combined to give up seven receptions for 133 yards in coverage.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Bears RB Jordan Howard

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit