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Paul Kitagaki, Jr./ The Bee
Vernon Davis was diagnosed with a badly bruised ankle, but there is no structural damage and the hope is he can play Sunday in Arizona.

Here’s an update on some of the 49ers’ injured players as they began preparing for the Arizona Cardinals today:

CB Tramaine Brock – He was seen walking through the locker room with a walking boot on his right foot. The sprained big – turf toe – that caused him to miss the better part of the last two games is likely to keep him out of Sunday's game in Arizona and perhaps longer. Look for Perrish Cox to make his second straight start.

TE Vernon Davis – He was told that he has a deep bone bruise following an awkward tackle by Bears linebacker Jon Bostic Sunday, but there is no structural damage to the ankle. Davis may miss time in practice this week, but there is optimism that he can play Sunday.

T Anthony Davis – He missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Jim Harbaugh on Monday said he was “hopeful” that Davis can resume practice, something he has not done since the regular season began.

GJ230SFI1.2Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
San Francisco 49ers fans cheer team as they play the Chicago Bears during a game at Levi's Stadium Sunday September 14, 2014 in Santa Clara.

Jim Harbaugh likened the performance of the crowd at Levi's Stadium to that of his team: There were some great efforts on Sunday and some areas that need work.

“I noticed at times it was good and loud, yeah,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “And other times it could be improved.”

The $1.2 billion venue certainly was not designed for volume. Whereas Seattle's Century Link Field was built with overhangs that reflect noise back to the field, Levi's Stadium is decidedly open and has very few overhangs. That allows the decibels generated to escape into the ether.

Still, with one of the largest lower bowls in the league, the stadium should be able to generate enough noise to trouble the opposition. That didn't seem to happen against Chicago as the Bears erased a 17-point deficit in their first road win against the 49ers since 1985.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Ray McDonald started Sunday’s game against the Bears amid calls from some to sit the defensive end who is being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t want to insert himself into the investigation of 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald and declined to comment when asked whether he and the 49ers think McDonald will be cleared of wrongdoing.

A report by the NFL Network on Sunday said the 49ers believe McDonald’s version of what happened at his house Aug. 31 that led to his arrest on suspicion of domestic abuse.

“I can’t comment,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a legal process that’s going on. As you notice, I haven’t inserted myself into it to try to sway it one way or another. As we said from the beginning, we’re waiting for information, waiting for facts.”

Harbaugh, however, wasn’t shy about saying he believed quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Quinton Patton when they were in the midst of an investigation in Miami this year.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Adding to Colin Kaepernick’s woes Sunday was a personal foul called against him for inappropriate language. The quarterback said he didn’t say anything.

Coach Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers is seeking more information on the “inappropriate language” penalty given to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick following one of his fourth-quarter interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Bears.

The penalty only moved the ball from the San Francisco 6-yard line to the 3. But the mystery surrounding it was symbolic of the 49ers’ issues on a night when they were called for 16 penalties, their most in 14 seasons.

“Yeah, I’d like to find out about that,” Harbaugh said when asked if he’s curious about what happened.

Kaepernick was in on the tackle of Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller, who returned the ball 20 yards. As Kaepernick was getting up, he apparently was jostled by two Bears linemen. He then appeared to shove Lamarr Houston and at least gesture with his head toward Houston. Kaepernick, however, said he “didn’t say anything” before the flag was thrown. And Houston told the Chicago Tribune that he didn’t hear anything.

file/ file
The 49ers added tight end Xavier Grimble to their practice squad and released linebacker Shayne Skov. Both are pictured.

Linebacker Shayne Skov, who gambled on joining the 49ers as a free agent in May despite an abundance of inside linebackers, was waived from the practice squad today. Also waived was cornerback Chance Casey.

They were replaced by tight end Xavier Grimble, who played against Skov’s Stanford squad at USC, and cornerback Leon McFadden. The 49ers have a shortage of tight ends after both Vernon Davis (ankle) and Vance McDonald (knee) couldn’t finish Sunday’s game. It’s not yet known how long either will be out. Davis was on crutches in the locker room following the game. The 49ers already have a tight end, Asante Cleveland, on the practice squad.

Grimble (6-5, 255) was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Giants in May. He spent the offseason and training camp with the Giants before being waived on August 26. McFadden (5-10, 190) originally was taken in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Browns. He appeared in all 16 games (two starts) as a rookie, recording 19 tackles and one pass defensed before being waived on August 30, 2014. McFadden was acquired on waivers by the Jets on August 31 and was later waived on September 11.

Skov, meanwhile, signed as an undrafted free agent in May. And while he played well, he was unable to leapfrog any of the 49ers backup linebackers -- Michael Wilhoite, Chris Borland and Nick Moody -- on the depth chart.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
The 49ers’ loss on Sunday obscured a solid effort by Justin Smith and the San Francisco defense
Jose Luis Villegas/ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick’s rough night included this hit by the Bears’ Shea McClellin.

SANTA CLARA -- There are many, many observations and notes after re-watching last night's 28-20 win by Chicago, the first by the Bears on the road against San Francisco since Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Jim McMahon and William “Refrigerator Perry” were in Bears uniforms together.

But first a subtle editorial: Twenty six total penalties! Are you freakin' kidding me?! The only person who wants to see Carl Cheffers that much is Carl's mom, and even she was sick of him by game's end. And the 26 doesn't include those that were picked up, declined, canceled by other penalties or wiped away on review. There were three separate fouls on a single Bears punt in the second quarter.

The 49ers had 16 , their most since Jan. 3, 2000 when they also had 16 penalties and six shy of their record, 22, which came Oct. 4, 1988 against Buffalo.

Obviously, some of the fouls – a false start or a delay of game – must be called. But Cheffers' crew seemed eager to throw flags, including on Frank Gore's long touchdown run, on which there was a phantom holding penalty on Anquan Boldin, and on Colin Kaepernick's “inappropriate language” call, on which Kaepernick insists he kept his mouth closed. (More on that later).

GIL30KAE3.3Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
Frank Gore breaks free on a touchdown run that was nullified by a penalty in the second quarter of the Bears game Sunday. Gore gained 63 yards in the game.

The demise of Frank Gore’s starting role may have been greatly exaggerated.

That was a story line in the run-up to Sunday’s game after rookie Carlos Hyde averaged 7.1 yards a carry and scored a touchdown in Week 1 against the Cowboys while 31-year-old Gore averaged only 3.9 yards per run.

On Sunday, however, it was Gore who was running on young legs.

He gained 63 yards on Sunday, 50 of which came in the first half before the game started to slip away from the 49ers and they had to rely on the pass.

Monday, September 15 2014
49ers report card

• Offense: With all their weaponry, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers should have dominated the Bears. Instead, mistakes, penalties and turnovers first prevented San Francisco from putting the game away then allowed the Bears to crawl back into it. Grade: D-

• Defense: The 49ers may have allowed 118 rushing yards to Dallas’ DeMarco Murray in Week 1, but they throttled the Bears and Matt Forte. Chicago largely abandoned the run in the second half, but Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes when he needed them. Grade: B

• Special teams: Aaron Lynch broke in the 49ers’ stadium in grand fashion with an early blocked punt. Grade: B

• Overall: A sickening loss not just for the coaches and players but for 49ers officials who for years looked forward to the grand unveiling of their new stadium. Grade: D

GIL30KAE5.6Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
Colin Kaepernick is sacked by Chicago defensive end Willie Young (97) in the fourth quarter during a game at Levi’s Stadium Sunday September 14, 2014 in Santa Clara.
Jose Luis Villegas/
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33) breaks up a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) in the first quarter in Sunday night’s season opener between the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.

A 49ers team that seemed ready to run away with a win against the hapless Chicago Bears in the first half ended up giving away the contest in the second half and spoiling the debut of their new stadium.

Colin Kaepernick, who looked masterful at times with a revamped arsenal of pass catchers in Week 1, committed four turnovers Sunday – including three interceptions – that allowed Chicago to first crawl back from a 17-point deficit, then take the lead, and eventually hold on for a 28-20 win. It was the Bears’ first victory on the road against the 49ers since their Super Bowl season in 1985.

The loss was the second three-interception game of Kaepernick’s career, the last coming in Week 2 last year in a blowout defeat at Seattle. A potential fourth interception Sunday was reversed after a replay review.

As was the case in Seattle last year, the 49ers finished the game without Vernon Davis. The tight end suffered an ankle injury when he was tackled from behind by Bears linebacker Jon Bostic in the fourth quarter. Jim Harbaugh had no update on Davis’ condition.

José Luis Villegas/
Andres Mereaz of Riverside County carries his 2-year-old son, Nathan, to the entrance of Levi’s Stadium before the first regular-season NFL game at the $1.3 billion facility in Santa Clara.

S You can open the doors on the prettiest new building in the NFL, celebrate the kickoff with 68,500 of your close friends, but when you throw a party and the most important person in the league declines his invitation, well, there is no ignoring the obvious.

This is a new era, a new beginning. But of what?

The 49ers are 1-1 and a hot topic for a number of reasons. Colin Kaepernick suddenly has morphed into a turnover machine. Vernon Davis has a bum ankle. The increasing number of injuries is troubling. But in a week of shocking, and far more significant, developments, the 28-20 loss to the Chicago Bears – historic clunker though it was – still counts as only one game.

Kaepernick’s woes and the injuries figure to be resolved far more quickly than the 49ers’ image problem or the growing perception among many domestic violence experts, women’s groups, social justice advocates and even some of the team’s former stars – including the respected Steve Young – who believe the organization is bungling the issue.

file/ file
The 49ers were penalized 16 times for 118 yards on Sunday. Jim Harbaugh didn’t want to talk about it.

Here’s the transcript from Jim Harbaugh’s press conference following the team’s 28-20 loss:

What happened in the second half there? Were the Bears doing things differently?

“They made some really good plays. Made some great plays. A couple interceptions that were just really good plays.”

Fifteen or 16 penalties for the Niners, is that a major problem? It was today, I guess.

APTOPIX Bears 49ers Football
Tony Avelar/AP Photo
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) is pushed out of bounds by Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte, top, as Shea McClellin helps on defense during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.
Bears 49ers Football
Noah Berger/AP Photo
A U.S. flag is presented on the field at Levi's Stadium as Pat Monahan of the music group Train sings the national anthem before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.

Like they did last week in Dallas, the 49ers pounced early in their home opener at Levi's Stadium and they lead 17-7

This time a blocked punt after a three-and-out possession by the Bears helped give San Francisco an early advantage.

Rookie Aaron Lynch, who is 6-6, 270 pounds, drove back the Chicago blocker opposite him, 205-pound Shaun Draughn, and got his hand up to deflect punter Patrick O'Donnell's attempt. The ball went out of bounds at the Chicago 8-yard-line, and three plays later Colin Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a short touchdown.

Against Dallas, a Chris Culliver fumble return gave the 49ers the lead 54 seconds in. Today the 49ers went ahead 7-0 2:18 into the game. They have outscored their two opponents 45-10 so far in the first half.

For 49ers blog posts before May 2014, go to the blog archives


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

49ers Blog Archives

Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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