It had all of the trappings of a fabulous opener in the newly minted Levi's Stadium; celebrity attendees, fantastic weather and a full house, but it was not meant to be.
It was a tale that could have had a happy ending, if only the game could have ended after the 3rd quarter, despite a multitude of penalties and mistakes. At the start of the fourth quarter the 49ers led by 13 points, but it's how you finish, and that's exactly what the Bears did. Three possessions in the final quarter that all led to touchdowns, and a spoiled opener.
It was a very undisciplined game that included 16 penalties for 118 yards, and four turnovers for the 49ers. The Bears were slightly better with 10 penalties for 58 yards. The glaring difference? Turnovers. Chicago didn't commit any. After the game Harbaugh, Kaepernick and Willis all spoke of the team loss and team responsibility. "We all had fingerprints on it." was the phrase used by both Harbaugh and Willis.
Boldin and Gore both expressed feelings that the team didn't finish.
"When you have a team team down you definitely have to put your foot on their throat because nobody is going to quit in this league." - Anquan Boldin.
"We started fast but we laid off, as a team. I just think we have to finish." - Frank Gore
49ers have a week to work on cleaning things up, they travel to Arizona on Sunday to face the 2-0 Cardinals.
Less than 90 minutes before the Carolina Panthers kicked off, DE Greg Hardy was deactivated. The day before the Minnesota Vikings game, Adrian Peterson was deactivated. Earlier in the Week, Ray Rice was released from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely.
Ray McDonald, similar to those three was arrested, but unlike those three was not charged for domestic violence or for Peterson child abuse. Due to this difference, say 49ers personnel, McDonald will play for the 49ers in their home opener at Levi's Stadium.
49ers personnel have been consistent in standing behind the fact that McDonald has not been convicted like Hardy. Hardy has filed an appeal and a jury trial scheduled for November will most likely be pushed back to 2015 due to a back log in the state legal system. Panthers brass had previously been "waiting for the legal process to conclude." Public pressure, it seems, has forced them to act.
The smart thing for the 49ers to do, in light of recent events in the NFL, would be to deactivate McDonald until his legal issues have been resolved. In doing so, McDonald would still be paid his salary, and the potential for the 49ers having to do damage control would be reduced. Hopefully the information that the 49ers gathered from McDonald and other players in attendance the night of his arrest is validated by him ultimately being found innocent. Until then, some of us will have uneasy feelings in our guts that he will remain on the field.