The last few weeks have not been easy to watch as the 49ers have slipped from a contender to a team that looked like they were a long way away from being worthy of a playoff spot. Thursday night at home vs the Chicago Bears, the offense still seemed stuck in the mud, but the defense played takeaway and earned a hard fought 10-6 win.
The win puts the Niners at 4-5, and breaks their four game losing streak. The defense took advantage of a bad night for Bears QB Jay Cutler, who threw five interceptions, including one on the last play of the game with the Bears driving towards what would have been the game-winning score. Looking for tight end Greg Olsen in the end zone from the Niners 12, Cutler ran up in the pocket, and threw, only to have it picked off by the Niners Michael Lewis to end the game.
On the night, Cutler was 29-for-52 for 307 yards with no TD’s and five picks and a QB rating of 33.6. Between Thursday night and the loss to the Packers in week one, Cutler has thrown 9 of his 17 interceptions. Clearly the Bears lack of being able to run, as well as playmakers at the wide out spot have killed them, but Cutler also has to take the blame for some of the costly picks that killed the team vs the Niners.
San Fran did just enough to get the win. They put up just 216 yards, but were led by a run game of Frank Gore that put up 110 yards, 104 of it by Gore. They held the ball for 31:33 to 28:27 for the Bears. Alex Smith was 16-for-23 for 118 yards with no TD’s and a pick, but he didn’t make the killer mistakes that Cutler did.
The only TD of the night came in the second quater with the Bears up 3-0. After Cutler was picked by Tarell Brown and returned it to the Bears 14, Gore went in from 14 yards out to give San Fran the 7-3 lead. It would hold up the rest of the night to help San Fran snap their four-game losing streak.
Robbie Gould kicked a third quarter field goal to make it 7-6, but then in the fourth quarter with 10:11 left, Joe Nedney made it 10-6 with a short 21-yard field goal. The Niners D made it hold up from there, and San Fran also was able to put together a five plus minute drive in the fourth quarter to be able to take away a good chunk of the clock.
The Bears had one last shot, and Cutler helped out with a questionable defensive holding call on 4th down, was able to lead the team down the field when he and the offense had two shots with :13 seconds left . The first play Cutler was off the mark to Olsen, the second, the ball was picked off, ending the game.
The Niners are now 4-5, and will be in Green Bay a week from Sunday.