Blowout by the bay

SAN FRANCISCO _ The <!--Default NodeId For San Francisco 49ers is 121,2003--><A HREF=http://49ers.TheInsiders.com>San Francisco 49ers</A> didn't do everything right in Sunday's 49-7 season-opening win over the Bears.

It just seemed that way. Jeff Chandler did miss a conversion kick.

The Bears suffered their worst loss in 26 years, 49-7, in a place where this sort of thing regularly happens to them. They got outgained 391 yards to 127, allowed 23 first downs while picking up eight and an already-banged up offensive line lost guard Chris Villarrial in the first half to a knee sprain.

``After a defeat like that, you don't feel good about anything,'' Jauron said. ''It just snowballed.''

The snowball started halfway through the second quarter of a game the Bears trailed only 10-7 following a 3-yard Kordell Stewart touchdown pass to Desmond Clark.

Yet by halftime they found themselves hopelessly behind 33-7 after two Kordell Stewart interceptions, Brandon Lloyd's blocked punt and a fumbled punt by Bears return man Bobby Wade.

The last time the Bears were beaten by this much was 1977 when the Houston Oilers handed them a 47-0 defeat. It was their sixth straight loss in this stadium, none by fewer than 17 points, and their worst opening day loss of all time.

``It was ugly out there,'' Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ''I don't think we did anything well.''

The thing they did an exceptionally poor job of was holding onto the ball. Stewart threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in his Bears debut.

The 49ers needed to drive only 6 and 18 yards to second-quarter touchdowns and 26 yards to a Jeff Chandler field goal. They drove had drives of 26 and 25 yards to scores in the fourth quarter. It all resulted from turnovers.

``San Francisco played well and when you give them the ball, they're going to play better,'' Stewart said.

Mike Brown's interception of a Jeff Garcia pass to Terrell Owens set the Bears up at San Francisco's 16 for Stewart's only TD pass. They were on the verge of getting the ball back again after the next 49ers series when Wade tried to field a punt at the Bears' 7 and lost a fumble which Jimmy Williams recovered. Garcia ran in a quarterback draw on third-and-three for a 17-7 49ers lead.

``I just didn't hold the ball,'' Wade said. ''I mean, he knocked it out. It's as simple as that. I need to hold the ball higher and tighter and just recognize where people are on the field.''

When the Bears punted after three plays on their next possession, former Illinois wide receiver Brandon Lloyd came from the outside and blocked Brad Maynard's punt. The 49ers went 18 yards in three plays, with Garcia throwing a 16-yard TD pass to Tai Streets on a crossing pattern for a 23-7 lead.

``It's a game of momentum, it's a game of getting things going,'' 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said. ''And I thought that when (we) came back and made some plays that all of a sudden we had some momentum.

``Then they got behind and it's insurmountable to come back.''

Coming back was made nearly impossible after Villarrial suffered his injury on the first play of the Bears' TD drive. It showed immediately in a lack of pass protection while the Niners blitzed almost every play.

Stewart was under fire the rest of the second quarter and threw a pass toward David Terrell with the Bears driving at the 49ers' 34 a minute before halftime. Ahmad Plummer picked it off and returned it 68 yards up the sideline for a touchdown and 30-7 lead.

The lead hit 33-7 on the final play of the half when Chandler made a 29-yard field goal after another interception by Williams gave San Francisco the ball at the Bears' 37. Stewart went 14-of-34 for 72 net passing yards and 95 yards overall.

``I didn't play that well at all,'' Stewart said. ''I turned the ball over three times and just couldn't find the rhythm. We were down 10-7, then before you know it, it's 17-7.

``And then we got into a battle of playing catch-up. You keep trying and the turnovers happens.''

If the Bears entertained notions of any comeback, that ended when San Francisco ate up half the third-quarter clock in a 14-play drive to Chandler's 28-yard field goal.

Chandler added a 24-yard third-quarter field goal and another one of 26 yards after Stewart lost a fumble on a sack. Plummer intercepted Stewart again in the fourth quarter, paving the way for another 49ers short TD drive, this one ending on a 1-yard Garrison Hearst run.

Hearst also scored the 49ers' first touchdown when he gave them a 10-0 lead on a screen pass of 12 yards in the first quarter. The first of Chandler's five field goals, a 22-yarder on San Francisco's first possession, had made it 3-0.

``If we had made them kick field goal all day then you could say it was a matter of turnovers,'' Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. ''But it wasn't. They scored touchdowns.''

They scored touchdowns and field goals, just like the 49ers always do against the Bears.


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