And the biggest echoes of all were the frothing footsteps of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who was lurking in pass coverage on the first play from scrimmage in overtime. And those were the footsteps that 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens heard.
Just like that, 49er quarterback Jeff Garcia's pass went from his right hand through Owens' arms into the breadbasket of Bears' safety Mike Brown, who scampered untouched 33 yards into the end zone and straight into the locker room for a 37-31 victory -- one of the most unlikely wins in the Bears' storied history. It was the Bears' biggest comeback since they came from 20 points behind to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987.
"To come back and show our character, that's the thing that good teams do," said starting QB Jim Miller, who left the game with an injured hip. "That's the sign of a good football team, and we are a good football team."
Urlacher, Brown and Matthews, who completed 25-of-31 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, were three of the many Bear heroes on this day. The offensive line did not allow a sack. Marty Booker and Dez White combined for 16 catches.
Rookie David Terrell caught two scoring tosses from Matthews in the final 4 minutes 8 seconds, and fellow Michigan rookie Anthony Thomas tied the score at 31-31 with a two-point conversion. Thomas finished the day with 127 rushing yards in 27 carries and a touchdown.
"It's funny," said head coach Dick Jauron. "You get really greedy. When Mike caught the ball, you're pretty happy. But then you want him to score. And then he gets to the 20 and you're not thinking field goal, you're thinking, 'Don't make us kick the field goal.' That's all I could think. I kept saying, 'Score! Get in the end zone!'"
It was fitting that the Bears won the game on a turnover, since they spotted the 49ers 14 points with two miscues of their own. 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson returned a Miller fumble 26 yards for a score in the first quarter, and in the third quarter Zack Bronson intercepted a Matthews' aerial and returned it 97 yards to pay dirt.
The win was the Bears' fifth straight after an opening day loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the first time they won five straight games since 1991.
"We just came through," said Urlacher, who had an interception. "Shane did a great job coming off the bench. That was huge of him to step in like he did. It's just good to know we're not out of any game. We were down 28-9 and just kept playing hard and things went our way. We are a pretty opportunistic team."