How Much Blame Does Lovie Smith Deserve for Embarrassing Monday Night Showing?

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaFeatured Columnist IVNovember 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears watches as his team takes on the Houston Texans at Soldier Field on November 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Texans defeated the Bears 13-6.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When a team loses in the NFL, the blame will usually go to the head coach. I often disagree with this theory, as players can lay an egg despite their coach preparing them as best he can.

In the case of Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears in their embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers, all of the blame falls on Lovie.

Smith is normally one of the NFL's better coaches; I'd consider him on the second echelon, not quite at the level of Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick but someone you'd like to have on your sideline. His players love playing for him, and for the most part, he's done a great job in his nine seasons in Chicago, with an overall record of 81-63.

But Monday night will not go down as one of Smith's better performances.

It was one of the worst games played by a Smith-coached Bears team. It's not just the 32-7 final score that looks terrible but how unprepared Chicago was for what the 49ers were about to throw at them.

The Bears looked like they were ready for Jason Campbell to play the game manager, letting the defense do the heavy lifting as they have all season long. The defense would instead find themselves getting dominated by the Niners' offensive line, while Colin Kaepernick used his playmaking abilities to remind the Bears that he was no Alex Smith.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Bears' offensive line was pummeled by the 49ers defense, especially Aldon Smith and Justin Smith. The Smiths combined for five sacks and 10 hits to quarterback Jason Campbell, who found it difficult to find a Bears receiver all evening.

It was almost as if the Bears had no idea what plays the 49ers would run.

This is understandable defensively as Kaepernick was making the first start of his career. But it just looks terrible on offense, as San Francisco's defense is similar to Chicago's in the sense that they're not exotic or gimmicky. They're going to pound you and force you into mistakes, and what you see is what you get.

How that got past Lovie I will never know. But despite a history that has includes three NFC North titles and a Super Bowl appearance, Smith looked like a rookie head coach on Monday night.