- QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 26/37, 293 yards, 1 INT
- RB Carlos Hyde: 17 rushes, 54 yards
- WR Marquise Goodwin: 8 rec, 99 yards
- WR Trent Taylor: 6 rec, 92 yards
- K Robbie Gould: 5/5 field goals
Almost one year to the day after the disastrous showing in Chicago, the 49ers today showed up in beautiful weather and avoided the chance of the first ever 1-15 season by getting their second win of the season. Led by newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in his first start for this franchise, he marched his team up and down the field, setting up kicker Robbie Gould (who was making his own return to Chicago, the place he spent most of his career) with five field goals under 40 yards. He converted all of them, the last one with :04 seconds on the clock and to win the game by one point, 15-14, despite the 49ers not scoring any touchdowns.
Here is a rundown of how this came to be. On their first drive, the 49ers quickly went with the no-huddle approach and it paid off — quickly leading them to the red-zone and converting for 5 first-downs on that drive alone. However, a holding penalty set the offense back to the 20-yard line and the Niners were forced to settle for a field goal. The defense; though, came ready to play, forcing a quick three-and-out. Even the subsequent punt return by wide receiver Trent Taylor went for 19 yards, and it looked like the 49ers were rolling, but we all know this isn’t sustainable over a full game yet. Bad teams rarely get lucky, as was evident on the next 49ers drive. Garoppolo threw a laser on a third down to wide receiver Louis Murphy, but before he went to the ground, Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller ripped the ball out of his hands for an interception. This gave the Bears the ball on their own 41-yard line. Chicago marched down to the red-zone, despite their running game being clogged efficiently, and ended the short drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman with 49ers cornerback Mabin in coverage (both D. Johnson and K. Williams left with injuries).
After this setback the team did not look rattled in any way and the offense took the ball and went straight down the field. Garoppolo looked like he had caught fire, completing consecutive passes of 20, 17 and 22 yards, respectively. However, back in the red-zone the offense could not convert on third-down and had to settle for their second field goal. Just like after the first field goal, the defense forced a punt and gave the offense the ball back almost immediately. Unfortunately the offense could not get going, though, and they were forced to punt for the first time. While for the most part punt coverage has been excellent throughout the year, the absence of gunner Raheem Mostert was felt immediately, as Bears running back Tarik Cohen caught the ball in his own half and scored a bizarre punt-return touchdown, running towards his own end-zone in the beginning. However, the 49ers did not let this stump them. They took the ball and marched right down the field again. The impressive drive stalled in the red-zone once again after two bad penalties, though. So Robbie Gould was asked to attempt his third field goal of the game, which he made — of course,
After halftime, the defense tightened up a bit and and forced a punt on the ninth play of the Chicago Bears drive. After getting the ball back on their own 14-yard line, the Garoppolo-led 49ers uncorked a 16-play drive that finished in a field goal, after topping 10 plays on a drive twice already in the first half. Yet again, the said drive stalled in the red-zone, this time because of a catch that was ruled incomplete which could not get overturned because there wasn’t a camera angle that showed clear evidence of a catch.
While up o this point the 49ers seemed to be the team that would lose this game in an unlucky fashion, the tides turned after all. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky fumbled twice on the next drive (recovered both) and Chicago was quickly forced to punt the ball back to the 49ers. However, San Francisco could not capitalize on the following drive and was forced to punt as well. Once again it was Bears running back Tarik Cohen who returned the ball and he even found a huge hole in the punt coverage to return the ball 67 yards. Luckily for the Niners, this was called back by a block in the back penalty. Down two points, Robert Saleh’s defensive unit managed to force yet another punt — the fifth of the day, and gave Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo a chance to muster up a game-winning drive with five and a half minutes left to play, and the offense did just that. While again the team could not convert for a touchdown from inside the Chicago 10-yard line, the 14-play drive took enough time off the clock to leave the Bears just 4 seconds to work with after Robbie Gould had made his fifth field goal of the day. On the ensuing kickoff Chicago desperately tried to find an opening by passing the ball laterally, but were stopped quickly and the San Francisco 49ers deservedly got their second win of the year.
- 73 plays, 388 yards
- 23 first-downs
- 10-18 on 3rd down (most conversions since 2007)
- Time of possession: 38:47
- 3.2 yards per rush; 7.5 yard per pass
- Defense allowed only 36 plays from the Bears offense (fewest since 10/1991 Vs Det.)
- When targeting WRs Taylor & Goodwin, Garoppolo went 14/14, 191 yards.
- Garoppolo improves to 3-0 as a starter in the NFL.