LIVE Game Blog: 49ers vs. Bears
(11:55) The Bears are wearing those ugly orange jerseys again. Do they save them just for the 49ers? One thing you can say is Chicago hardly looks as fearsome in orange as that bruising navy blue. Maybe that will help the 49ers, who played Chicago close in those orange jerseys last November in a 17-9 defeat at this same locale … (11:57) Same locale, but the conditions at Soldier Field bear (no pun intended) little resemblance to last year's Wind Bowl, where swirling gusts up to 47 mph played havoc with both teams throughout the game. This time, it's clear and rather pleasant, and while there is some wind whistling through the stadium - as there always is - it's only getting up to about 10 mph. Maybe the 49ers will be able to complete more than one pass this time against the Bears … (11:59) The 49ers call tails, the coin comes up heads. The Bears will be getting the ball first, which probably is just as well for the 49ers … (12:04) Then again, maybe not. Joe Nedney's kickoff is short, the Bears start at the San Francisco 35, and running back Thomas Jones proceeds to rip off 9-yard gains on each of his first two carries and then more chunks of yardage after that. The Bears said they want to get their running game going against the 49ers, and that's just what they're doing … (12:08) The Bears march right down the field, but Rex Grossman throws incomplete on third-and-3, and the Bears have to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, who has not missed a kick yet this year. Chicago leads 3-0, but the 49ers have to be pleased with the stop … (12:11) Uh-oh, here the 49ers go … down. Maurice Hicks hesitates after catching the ensuing kickoff in the end zone, then makes an ill-advised decision to bring it out, and he is sandwiched by Chicago's coverage team. And there goes the football as he's dragged to the ground! Is it a fumble or isn't it? Mike Nolan throws the red flag to challenge, and he might have an argument. But then he picks the flag up. Huh? It might have been worth the challenge ... (12:16) Jones stops and starts in the backfield, cuts back as 49ers defenders whiff on tackle attempts, then scoots into the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown run and a 10-0 Chicago lead. And you immediately have to ask yourself: Will the 49ers be able to score 10 points today against this Chicago defense? … (12:35) Well, now they'll have to score 17 just to get back in the game. Brian Urlacher makes a spectacular play, tipping an Alex Smith pass in the air while in coverage, then making a great one-handed interception as he falls to the ground at the San Francisco 41. The Bears need just six plays to go the distance, as Muhsin Muhammad turns around safety Mark Roman and catches a 5-yard TD pass on third down while Roman has his back to the line of scrimmage … (12:40) This game officially is out of control. On the first play after the kickoff, linebacker Lance Briggs knocks the ball out of Smith's hands as he attempts to scramble forward from the pocket, and lineman Tommie Harris picks up the ball and rumbles to the San Francisco 13. Two plays later, the Bears are back in the end zone. It's 24-0, and there's still 1:02 left in the frickin' first quarter! … (12:44) And that's how the first quarter unmercifully ends, with the Bears up 24-0 after scoring the most first-quarter points in a game in franchise history. And it certainly doesn't appear that they're done scoring yet … (12:55) They're not. The 49ers go nowhere on their first possession of the first quarter as Smith is sacked on third down, and Devin Hester returns the ensuing punt 42 yards to the San Francisco 24. The Bears are tearing apart the 49ers in every phase of the game. The 49ers force a fourth-and-goal at the 1, but the Bears decide to go for it, and Manny Lawson is caught out of position on a play-action pass as Chicago scores easily on a pass from Grossman to wide-open tight end Desmond Clark. It's 31-0, and this already is way past embarrassing … (1:01) The Bears are just so fast and aggressive, and the 49ers have absolutely no chance. Even when San Francisco threatens to do something positive, it blows up in the Niners' faces. The 49ers show some semblance of starting a drive, but Arnaz Battle is flagged for offensive pass interference after making a grab down the right sideline on first down. Another San Francisco drive doomed from the start … (1:10) This is really getting ridiculous. The 49ers don't belong on the same field as the Bears, and they're being made to look like a college team - or worse. Grossman hits Muhammad over the middle for 27 yards … then again for eight yards …. But the drive eventually stalls, so Gould drills a 36-yard field goal. At this point, the 49ers will take three points allowed rather than seven, a sad commentary indeed. It's 34-zip Chicago, and there's still 3:20 left in the second quarter … (1:17) The 49ers take over at their own 26 with 3:09 left. Can they do anything before the half to at least put a crooked number up on their half of the scoreboard? It's a promising start as Smith hits Eric Johnson over the middle for a 25-yard gain, easily San Francisco's best play of the day so far. It's also the first time the San Francisco offense has visited Chicago territory … (1:24) But no, the 49ers aren't going anywhere … of course. On fourth-and-1 from the Chicago 39, another critical error. Smith shakes and bakes and dances away from pressure in the pocket, finding Frank Gore down the left sideline for a 24-yard gain. The 49ers actually might score before halftime! But wait. Gore is flagged for an illegal touch, since he went out of bounds before catching the pass. Five-yard penalty, and now it's fourth-and-6 … (1:25) But, hey, look at this. Smith hits Antonio Bryant on a skinny post, and Bryant reaches out to make a nice grab … sort of. Charles Tillman pops the ball out as Bryant catches it after a 16-yard gain, and free safety Danieal Manning recovers at the Chicago 30. So much for that scoring opportunity, as the 49ers commit their fourth turnover of the first half. But there's only 72 seconds remaining in the second quarter, so nothing else can go wrong for the 49ers before they get a chance to regroup in the locker room at halftime. Right? ... (1:31) Wrong again! With a 34-point lead and 70 yards to travel, the Bears appear more than content to run out the clock and head into the locker room to celebrate their good fortune of having the 49ers to push around as they come back from their bye. Cedric Benson takes a straight handoff on first down, but turns it into an 11-yard gain, then carries again for six yards on the next play. Nearing midfield, the Bears try a little dump-off pass to fullback Jason McKie. Shawntae Spencer makes a horrible tackle attempt, putting his head down and diving at McKie's feet near the sideline, allowing McKie to turn it into a 26-yard gain to put the Bears in business again … (1:32) But there's only 16 seconds remaining before the half, so the 49ers only need one stop, and maybe the Bears won't even attempt a field goal if San Francisco gets that stop. Ha! Clark streaks wide open over the middle and reels in a 27-yard scoring pass from Grossman with just 10 seconds left in the half. This is a laugher to the highest degree, and the Bears now have tied their franchise record for most points scored in a single half. And for those still counting, it's 41-0 at halftime. In two quarters, the Bears already have duplicated what it took Kansas City an entire four quarters to do to the 49ers in Week 4, when the Chiefs beat San Francisco 41-0 to hand the Niners their worst shutout loss in franchise history. The Bears still have two quarters to work on that ignominious mark … (1:49) The 49ers take the second-half kickoff, and now there actually is hope again San Francisco might be able to get on the scoreboard. Helped along by consecutive penalties by Chicago defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (one of which was declined), the 49ers move into Chicago territory again … Wow! … (1:52) On third-and-6, Smith hits Bryant for a 16-yard gain. The 49ers are in business at the Chicago 23. They might even get a field goal out of this one … (1:56) And then again, maybe not. Smith throws incomplete on his next two passes, and then Kwame Harris - continuing to work his way out of the starting lineup - gets flagged for a 15-yard facemask penalty on third down, pushing the 49ers back to the Chicago 38 and out of field-goal range. Under a ferocious pass rush, Smith throws incomplete on third down, and the 49ers must punt. So much for starting the second half on a positive note, though on this day, a drive that picks up 50 net yards definitely has to be considered a positive … (2:10) Bears back in business, marching down the field on another methodical drive. Chicago marches from its 11 to the San Francisco 22 in 11 plays. Spencer - continuing to regress by the week - is flagged for pass interference on the next play, giving Chicago a first down at the 19. Derek Smith then is made to looki silly while whiffing again on Jonas, who rumbles for a 12-yard gain for a first down at the San Francisco 7 … (2:18) Jones bulls his way to the 2 on first down, but then - finally, thankfully - the 49ers get tough. Grossman fumbles on second down before picking up the ball and throwing it away. Grossman throws incomplete again on third down, but the Bears decide to go for the touchdown again on fourth-and-short. But Jones is stuffed at the 1. The Bears get no points out of a 16-play drive that picked up 88 yards. Hallelujah!! … (2:21) But it's still 41-0 as the third quarter comes to an end. But at least the 49ers played Chicago to a 0-0 standoff during the period. … (2:23) Already beaten and battered, it seems a bit irrelevant to talk about the 49ers never quitting … But there goes Smith, fooling the Chicago defense on a naked bootleg on the first play of the fourth quarter to turn a third-and-1 into a nine-yard gain and keep a drive moving that started at the San Francisco 1 and get the 49ers deep out of their own territory … (2:24) That sets up a 53-yard burst by Gore, who definitely is one guy who never quits. Gore showed how dangerous he is in the open field, springing himself with a nifty move as he turned the corner, then out-racing several Chicago defenders down the sideline before being forced inside and tackled at the Chicago 9. First-and-goal, 49ers! On this day, that's definitely something to get excited about. … (2:28) Alas, the 49ers can't turn the opportunity into a touchdown as Michael Robinson gets flagged for offensive holding on third down. Trailing by 41 points, do the 49ers go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 5? Of course they don't. Nolan opts to avoid the shutout, and we couldn't agree with him more. Nedney comes in and takes the gimmee 23-yard field goal. The 49ers now have a 3-0 lead over the Bears in the second half … (2:34) It's purely slop time now as Brian Griese takes over for Grossman at quarterback, but Brandon Moore and Anthony Adams converge on Griese for a sack on third down, and the Bears go a quick three-and-out … (2:42) You've got to figure the Bears are hardly paying attention anymore, but Smith shakes loose for a nine-yard scramble on third-and-7 to keep the ensuing San Francisco drive alive, then Gore - on his way to a 100-yard day - rips off a 21-yard burst to get the Niners into Chicago territory. Gore fumbles two plays later on a screen pass, but Justin Smiley is there to recover at the Chicago 16 … (2:43) On the next play, Smith hits Bryant in the end zone with a crisp 16-yard pass. TOUCHDOWN, 49ERS! Hey, somebody's got to say it … (2:52) That makes it 41-10, and yes, that does look better than 41-0. It also looks a lot better than 62-0, which is where this game appeared headed before the Bears let off on the gas pedal. Playing backups on offense, the Bears have to punt back to the 49ers after picking up just one first down on their next possession … (2:58) Gee, 41-17 would look even better than 41-10 - particularly after that first-half blowout - but it's not about to happen. With the 49ers starting deep in their own territory - again - Smith throws incomplete on first and second down. On third down, Chicago rookie Mark Anderson blows past Harris at right tackle and wallops Smith, forcing San Francisco's fifth turnover - a fitting end to a game that really was over in the first quarter. (3:02) Griese kneels down twice, and this latest 49ers debacle finally is over. The 49ers now have allowed 235 points in seven games, and they're headed for record territory unless they get that turned around - and fast … (3:03) But, hey, nobody really thought the 49ers had a chance in this one anyway, right? Whew, that's for sure. So much for regrouping during their bye week.
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