If you're looking for a positive after the San Francisco 49ers 28-20, Levi's® Stadium-opening loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, here's one.
Alex Boone is back to being himself.
The right guard was the 49ers starter after he played in a reserve role in the team's Week 1 win at Dallas.
Boone and a re-tooled offensive line helped the 49ers gain 129 rushing yards, though the unit did allow quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be sacked four times.
"Good. It's always good to be out there fighting, having fun," Boone said when asked about getting to play an entire game again. "Losing sucks, but to be out there felt good."
This time last season, Boone started next to center Jonathan Goodwin and right tackle Anthony Davis. On Sunday night, he was flanked by center Daniel Kilgore and right tackle Jonathan Martin, who has replaced the injured Davis to this point.
Martin yielded a sack during the offense's last series, but Jim Harbaugh said he wouldn't single out any "one segment" of the team when asked about the right side of the offensive line in particular.
"You know, I thought I played well for a lot of the game," Martin said. "That last drive is obviously not up to par. So it's frustrating. It's something to improve on. Got to do better next time, next game."
Boone had his own answer for the offense's downfall.
"The biggest thing is we've got to play for 60 minutes," number 75 said. "We stalled out a little bit and then we tried to regain our momentum, and then the turnovers hit. We've just got little things to clean up. It's on everybody on the offense. It starts with the offensive line. We've got to get better, and we will."
Losing the first game at the team's new Santa Clara home wasn't lost on players like Boone, who recently re-worked his contract for the next two seasons after being absent all of training camp.
"To be honest, it sucks," he said. "It's the first game ever in Levi's® Stadium. You want to end it on a good note. I think we turned the ball over too much. We as an offense need to pick it up. We can't leave our defense out to dry like that. We've got to get back in the meeting rooms, look at things and get better. There's always room for improvement, but not a great way to start the home openers."
Davis has been slowed by a hamstring injury after rehabbing offseason shoulder surgery. If he returns in time for Week 3, the 49ers could have their full starting five, which also comprises left guard Mike Iupati and left tackle Joe Staley.
"This next on is huge — the Cardinals, it counts for two," Boone said. "We need to rebound. We can't slip up. They're a good team. They're a great team. You go down to their house, it get loud, it gets feisty. This is going to be a big game for us to really show if we can be the team we think we are."
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