Hicks leads Bears' defense in crushing performance
Considering he stands 6 feet 5 and is a plate of Christmas cookies shy of 350 pounds, it should be difficult to strike fear into Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks.
One person did Sunday at Soldier Field.
No, not Colin Kaepernick.
"Mom was here. Mom threatened me," said Hicks, jolly as always. "She said, 'If ya'll don't go out there and get this win today, we're going to have some problems.'"
Whew. The Bears beat San Francisco 26-6, snapping a losing streak at three games for the third time this season. And Mama Hicks' "little boy" had a large say in the matter.
"She got tired, just like everybody else, of watching us not put up a 'W,'" Hicks said. "She was upset."
Her son and his defensive teammates played angry. They didn't allow a touchdown and sacked Kaepernick five times, sending the quarterback to the bench in the fourth quarter after he completed just 1 of 5 passes for 4 yards. The Bears had 6 sacks overall. Hicks (10 tackles) and Leonard Floyd each had 2 sacks, while Eddie Goldman and Willie Young notched 1 apiece.
Kaepernick, mind you, threw for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards in a 31-24 loss to Miami last week. Against the Bears, with snow falling throughout the game, Kaepernick was ice-cold, so to speak.
When the controversial QB took a knee on the sideline during the national anthem, it would be the first of many times that he wasn't standing. And if there was any defensive coordinator who knew how to corral Kaepernick, it was the Bears' Vic Fangio, who held the same position for the 49ers a couple of years ago.
"We did a lot of different things," said Bears rookie linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who was credited with 9 solo tackles, including 2 for loss, and 2 pass breakups. "We mixed things up. It was just a matter of knowing where (Kaepernick) was at, being sound in our gaps and not letting him get outside of us."
The Bears stayed disciplined in the rushing lanes against Kaepernick, who picked up 14 of his 20 rushing yards on 1 carry (6 total).
"Just contain rush, rush as a unit, all those cliché terms," said Hicks, whose 2 sacks gave him a career-best 6 this season. "I think that's what we were trying to accomplish out there today."
San Francisco's only points came off special-teams gaffes by the Bears, who allowed a partially blocked punt and fumbled away the ensuing kickoff after the 49ers opened the scoring midway through the second quarter. The 49ers' two scoring drives (Phil Dawson field goals from 31 and 28 yards) covered a combined 33 yards.
"Defense went in there and put the fire out," Bears head coach John Fox said. "That (6-0 score) looks a lot better than 14-0."
After sitting out last week against Tennessee with a concussion and being listed as questionable for Sunday, Floyd started, and the first-round pick picked up where he left off. He punctuated the win by throwing Blaine Gabbert to the south end-zone grass in the fourth quarter for a safety. The sack was Floyd's seventh in just 9 NFL games.
"One of my favorite things to watch is how the young boy Floyd wants it so bad," Hicks said. "Just his energy, it excites me because I remember how I was when I was a rookie, just chomping at the bit, wanting to be in there on every play and trying to make one every play."
For only the third time this season, the Bears made enough plays to win.
Let it snow, let it snow.
"Anytime you get a win it's fun," Kwiatkoski said. "But with a game like that, in the snow, it was a good time."
Mother-approved, for sure.