3 and out: Bears offense fails to show up in loss to 49ers
Breaking down the Bears’ 15-14 loss Sunday over the San Francisco 49ers.
THREE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
1. 49ers kicker Robbie Gould turned toward the Bears’ sideline and started to celebrate. The former Bears kicker, who was cut just prior to the 2016 season opener after 11 seasons in Chicago, connected for the game winner from 24 yards out. Gould made five field goals on the day and was responsible for all 15 of San Francisco’s points.
2. Making his first start for the 49ers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo fired a perfect strike on 3rd-and-9 with just over two minutes remaining. Wide receiver Trent Taylor beat cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc inside over the middle for the catch and sprinted 33 yards to the Bears’ 18-yard line. The long reception set the stage for Gould’s celebration.
3. Rookie Tarik Cohen cut left and then up the sideline, taking a punt from his own 16-yard line all the way to San Francisco’s 17 with 10:39 left in the game. The Bears should have started the drive in the red zone already leading 14-12, but Ben Braunecker was flagged for an illegal block far behind the return. Instead, the Bears started at their own 14 and eventually punted with 5:35 left.
THREE THINGS THAT WORKED
1. Cohen’s punt returns. Cohen’s 67-yard return in the fourth quarter was wiped out by a boneheaded penalty on Braunecker, but the electric rookie still showcased his explosiveness. He also flashed his speed in the first half on a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in which he cut right and then reversed field all the way down the left sideline.
2. Fuller’s defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller has put together a terrific season for the most part; though, he had struggled recently against the Eagles and Packers. The former first-round pick bounced back Sunday with a first-quarter interception and several key tackles on the perimeter to stop the 49ers from picking up first downs.
3. Middle linebackers. Danny Trevathan was back on the field for the first time since Week 8. He immediately made an impact, tying for a team-high 10 solo tackles along with fellow middle linebacker Christian Jones. Both did a quality job limiting San Francisco’s offense up the middle.
THREE THINGS THAT DIDN’T
1. Running between the tackles. The 49ers came in with the 30th-ranked run defense, but the Bears couldn’t take advantage. Jordan Howard finished with just 38 yards on 13 carries, and he was particularly ineffective between the tackles. Of course, it didn’t help that guard Kyle Long left after the first half with a shoulder injury, but it was still a disappointing effort.
2. The pass rush. The Bears started the contest with just three healthy outside linebackers in Pernell McPhee, Sam Acho and Lamarr Houston, who the Bears signed earlier in the week. McPhee left early in the contest with a shoulder injury and did not return, while Acho and Houston combined for only one sack and two quarterback hits.
3. Deep attack. Bears head coach John Fox said his team had some deep shot plays in the game plan but failed to execute. Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky missed an opportunity for a free play when the 49ers jumped offsides in the first half, and later, when the Bears did attempt to go deep, he was hit from behind and fumbled. Trubisky passed for only 102 yards on 15 attempts.
The Bears travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals for the first time since the season opener in 2013, which the Bears won, 24-21, behind two touchdowns from Jay Cutler.
The Bengals (5-6) have won two straight and have a critical matchup with the Steelers Monday night.