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updated: 11/20/2012 5:38 AM

Bears have more to worry about than Cutler

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  • Bears quarterback Jason Campbell is looked over by teammates after being tackled during Monday's second half in San Francisco.

    Bears quarterback Jason Campbell is looked over by teammates after being tackled during Monday's second half in San Francisco.
    Associated Press


And just that quickly, the Bears are out of first place and soon could find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

After a trip to the West Coast and a short week, a loss at home Sunday to Minnesota, which is coming off a bye, could leave the Bears in a dogfight for a postseason spot.

There are six games remaining, and a two-game losing streak hardly marks the end of the season, but perhaps this is why George McCaskey hasn't rushed into a contract extension for Lovie Smith, whose team came out unemotional, unprepared and unbelievably bad in the first half Monday night in San Francisco.

The final was 32-7, but the Bears lost the game in the first half when the Niners got points on their first four possessions and took a 20-0 lead.

Jason Campbell was as bad as he played last week against Houston, managing minus-1 yards net passing in the first 30 minutes with a 16.7 quarterback rating.

Campbell and his 70 career starts, which Phil Emery said in March qualified him to win a championship for the Bears if Jay Cutler went down, were hardly a match for Colin Kaepernick, making his first NFL start.

Kaepernick, with a 140 QB rating in the first half, picked up where he left off last week, when he played well in relief of Alex Smith, who was scratched Monday morning after failing to get medical clearance with a concussion.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Campbell also picked up where he left off against Houston, playing a terrible game behind a terrible offensive line.

Campbell was sacked four times just in the first 32 minutes, but at least a couple were on Campbell for holding the ball too long.

His supposed arm strength, which the Bears crowed about all week, was not in evidence Monday as he floated pass after pass that was picked off, knocked down, behind the receiver or thrown out of bounds.

Campbell was awful, but he was hardly alone. The offensive line was as bad as usual, the defense invisible, the special teams useless -- as Devin Hester continued his precipitous fall -- and the coaching staff helplessly unable to adjust.

Yeah, Jim Harbaugh stuck it to Smith and company in embarrassing fashion. The Niners were faster, smarter and more physical -- on both sides of the ball -- from start to finish, and they didn't give the Bears the football.

That's a minor flaw in the Bears' formula. They beat up on bad teams by stripping the ball, getting a lead and then stripping the ball more. But when they don't get the lead and the football from the opposition, their offense doesn't function well.

Let's face it, the offense doesn't function all that well when playing with the lead and its starting quarterback, but playing catch-up isn't easy when you can't play catch at all.

Down 27-0, Campbell got on the board only because Brandon Marshall catches anything thrown up for grabs, and when Campbell threw it up for grabs in the end zone, Marshall brought it down for a touchdown late in the third.

By then the game was over and the only question was whether Campbell would survive the beating or be sent to the bench in favor of Josh McCown.

Yeah, it was ugly from start to finish, and by far the best moment of the game was when the final seconds ticked off the clock.

The Bears dragged themselves off the field, beaten, battered and humiliated, wondering about their future and scowling about the present.

And somewhere in Denver, Caleb Hanie was probably having himself a good laugh.

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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